August 2018 News

Guv, Mainstream Parties Remember 'astute Statesman' Vajpayee

16 August 2018
Rising Kashmir
Rabiya Bashir

Srinagar: Governor Narinder Nath Vohra and the mainstream political parties of the State Thursday condoled the demise of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee calling him an 'astute statesman'. The politicians described Vajpayee as the skillful man, who better understood the Kashmir issue and tried to solve it. They said despite his Jan Sangh past, he extended a hand of friendship to Pakistan and offered dialogue to the separatists in a historic speech here in April 2003. Expressing grief over the sad demise of Vajpayee, Governor N N Vohra paid tribute to the former PM, with whom he had the privilege of working for several years during the period he was carrying out a dialogue with all segments in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. The Governor described him as an astute and visionary leader whose thinking was deeply infused by humanism. He recalled Vajpayee's continuing endeavour to evolve an amicable resolution of issues relating to Kashmir. In his message, the Governor prayed for peace of the departed soul and for granting strength to his bereaved family members. Paying tributes to the former PM, Governor N N Vohra described him as an astute and visionary leader whose thinking was deeply infused by humanism. He recalled Vajpayeeji's continuing endeavor to evolve an amicable resolution of issues relating to Kashmir. Governor Vohra is leaving for New Delhi to pay homage and attend Vajpayee's funeral. National Conference (NC) President and Member Parliament, Farooq Abdullah and Vice President Omar Abdullah expressed deep grief and sorrow over the passing away of Vajpayee. Highlighting Vajpayee's exemplary contributions in serving the people of India Farooq said, 'In his demise, country has lost not only an exemplary politician but a visionary too. His golden words on Kashmir would be remembered for all times to come.' Calling Vajpayee's political career nothing less than a template for others to follow and imbibe, Farooq said, 'He will be remembered not only for his clear political thought but also the way he engineered out of the box initiatives on Kashmir. He still remains as one of the few politicians who has a huge fan following in Kashmir.' NC Vice President Omar Abdullah, who was a minister of state in the Vajpayee-led government at the Centre, said the passing away of the former PM was a personal loss to him. 'Vajpayee Sahib is no more & I feel a personal sense of loss at his passing. Thank you sir for the opportunities, for the trust you reposed in me, for the opportunities to travel with you & to learn from you. You will be greatly missed,' Abdullah tweeted. Describing the late leader as an astute statesman, the PDP President and former CM Mehbooba Mufti said Vajpayee would also be remembered for the peace-building measures he took for normalizing relations between India and Pakistan and for achieving sustainable peace in the subcontinent. 'He was the leader and took the challenges head-on for which he won admirers not only in India but in the entire world as well,' she said. Mehbooba said her often repeated quote 'Dost Badlay Ja Saktay Hain, Padosi Nahin' became a benchmark for political statesmanship and diplomacy. Terming the Vajpayee's stand on Kashmir as cordial and purposeful, National Conference General Secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar said he was a man with courage who wanted to put an end on the killings and sufferings in Kashmir. 'During his government, Vajpayee talked to separatists and stakeholders in Kashmir. In fact, he wanted a good relationship with Pakistan,' he said. Sagar said everybody would call Vajpayee 'a right man in the wrong party'. 'His politics was different, he believed in respecting every religion, and he extended a hand of friendship to Pakistan and offered dialogue to the separatists in a historic speech here in April 2003,' Sagar said. State Congress chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir said Vajpayee had a better understanding of Kashmir issue and that was why he started his mantra of 'Insaniyat, Jamhooriyat and Kashmiriyat'. 'In 2014, BJP sold Vajpayee's formula and won elections. They had a golden chance to engage the people of Jammu Kashmir into the mainstream under this formula but they failed completely failed,' Mir said. He said BJP should read the personality of Vajpayee and learn something from him. 'It is unfortunate that the BJP leaders are not following Vajpayee. They should learn the way, Atalji dealt with different issues and tried to solve them,' Mir said. Expressing grief over the demise of Vajpayee, former union minister, Saifuddin Soz said he was of a consistent view that Pakistan happens to be India's closest neighbour and that neighbours cannot be changed. Soz said Vajpayee acknowledged that Kashmiris had been suffering for long and tried to push for the resolution of Kashmir issue while coning the phrase 'Insaniyat, Jhamooriyat, Kashmiryat' and engaging the separatist leadership in dialogue. Referring to his historic vote that brought down the Vajpayee government in 1999, Soz said, 'My vote was not against Vajpayee but against the National Conference leadership that had done wrong by supporting the BJP government.' Senior PDP leader Naeem Akhtar said Vajpayee had become a reference point 'in Kashmir and about Kashmir'. 'His electoral loss in 2004 (Lok Sabha polls) is considered a loss for Kashmir and entire South Asia. He was one PM who bonded with the sentiments of Kashmiris and scripted a new peace agenda for south Asia, establishing in the process the centrality of the sentiment of the people of Kashmir and that Kashmir can be resolved without the use of force and without redrawing borders,' Akhtar said. Democratic Party Nationalist (DPN) president and former minister, Ghulam Hassan Mir termed the former PM as true statesman, saying that the efforts made by the deceased to bringing peace and tranquility in the Jammu Kashmir would always be remembered. Awami National Conference (ANC) President, Khalida Shah also termed the demise of Vajpayee as unfortunate and said that the former PM will always be remembered for his sincere steps toward bringing peace and tranquility in Jammu Kashmir. 'I am personally shocked over the death of a former PM,' she said. Calling Vajpayee a visionary leader, she prayed for the eternal peace to the departed soul and also prayed for the patience to the bereaved family. Chairman PDF and MLA Khan Sahab, Hakeem Yaseen described Vajpayee as a highly principled noble soul who always stood for peace and justice. He said his political ideology leaving aside, Vajpayee was a true human being and a secular leader. CPI (M) leader and MLA Kulgam Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami said that Vajpayee had tried to reach to the people of Kashmir by initiating certain important initiatives which helped in creating hope among the people. 'Opening of dialogue with stakeholders including Pakistan and other dissenting voices were meaningful steps which were taken during his tenure. Besides, the opening of trade and people to people contact across LOC which were seen as major confidence-building measures were initiated during his prime ministership,' he said.

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