Is Vajpayee alright?

PTI | ByP Jayaram (IANS), New Delhi
May 21, 2004 01:58 PM IST

A whirl of farewell meetings has left little time for the outgoing Prime Minister to sit down and introspect on the stunning election results that put an end to his Govt's rule.

A whirl of farewell meetings has left little time for outgoing Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to introspect on the stunning election results that put an end to his Government's rule.

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"He has been having a series of farewell meetings, starting in the morning and going on till evening and has had little time for anything else," said a Vajpayee aide.

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All members of his council of ministers, heads of public sector enterprises, political appointees, officers and staff at the prime minister's office (PMO), his personal staff, his doctors and personnel of the special protection group (SPG) have individually or collectively bid him farewell.

Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani, Finance Minister Jaswant Singh and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including party president M Venkaiah Naidu, have held discussions with him more than once on the elections results.

But Vajpayee has preferred to listen more rather than offer any comments.

"He has been okay," the aide said when asked how the outgoing prime minister had taken the electoral outcome, particularly since he was widely expected to come to power.

He said Vajpayee regularly took his routine walk in the beautiful garden of 7, Race Course Road, the prime ministerial residence, and kept a close watch on political developments.

"After all, he has been in this business for over five decades. There have been defeats and victories."

But the source acknowledged that the end to six years as prime minister was poignant and the sprawling prime ministerial residence, with its peacocks, fine landscape and artificial waterfalls, held many fond memories for Vajpayee and his family members.

The residence, which was a hub of activities throughout the day and late into evenings, has been desolate since the announcement of the election results.

Vajpayee preferred to work from his home rather than the prime minister's office at South Block, about four km away.

"They have started packing, but it will take three or four weeks before they can move out," the source said.

Only by then will their new home at 8 Krishna Menon Marg, for which Vajpayee had shown preference, be ready after renovation.

That house was previously occupied by the late Commerce and Industries minister Murasoli Maran and before that by Prime Minister-designate Manmohan Singh when he was finance minister during 1991-96.

The poet-politician has not had the time to sit down and indulge in his favourite pastime of writing poetry. Maybe he can do that when he settles down in his new residence.

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