Did Vajpayee refer to Indira as Durga avatar?

Did Vajpayee refer to Indira as Durga avatar?

Did veteran BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee ever refer to political rival and former prime minister Indira Gandhi as Goddess Durga?

CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury believed so and said in the Rajya Sabha on Friday that Vajpayee had introduced the Congress leader as an avatar of Durga post 1971 Bangladesh war. He insisted that Vajpayee, who was then a leader of Jan Sangh which is the mother organisation of the BJP, had made that statement in the House of Elders.

Before Yechury could exhaust his chance to respond to Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani’s reply to discussion on nationalism arising out of Jawaharlal Nehru University and Hyderabad Central University episodes, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley interrupted and requested the senior Left leader to authenticate his narrative in the House. To that, Yechury said he had relied on the House records.

In an undated old television interview available on YouTube, Vajpayee can be heard repeatedly clarifying that he never described Indira Gandhi as Durga but the media had been attributing it to him. 

Vajpayee, appearing on Aap Ki Adalat show on India TV, recalled that cultural activist and acclaimed writer Pupul Jayakar had posed him the same question since she wanted to recount the statement in a book she was attempting then on Indira Gandhi. 

The veteran BJP leader, as per the video, said he reiterated the factual position to Jayakar and she could not find out any reference linking to him even in library archives. Still, Indira as Durga eloquence had been affixed to me, recollected perplexed Vajpayee in the TV show. 

Jayakar, who was also a friend of Nehru-Gandhi family, had penned book, “Indira Gandhi: A Biography” that had hit the stands some time in December 2012. Though not attributing to Vajpayee, the biography used the goddess epithet to give a context to Indira’s character.

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