Vajpayee, an orator par excellence

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the ex-Prime Minister of India. DH file photo

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the ex-Prime Minister of India, was a man noted for his eloquence and the way he used words to convey his thoughts. His words and mannerisms carried a charisma that made even his political opponents hold him in high regard, a point that remains true to this day.

DH brings to you some of his most historic speeches, from the no-confidence motion to Pokhran-II, be it as the External Affairs Minister or Prime Minister.

Speech in the United Nations

In 1977, when Vajpayee was still the External Affairs Minister of India, he was invited to the United Nations, where he spoke in Hindi, talking about the end of the reign of terror and said that the successes and failures of the world should be measured on the scale of whether they could provide justice and dignity to every man, woman and child.

 

Afghanistan and the Ram Janmabhoomi issue

In the midst of the Ram Janmabhoomi issue, which led to the demolition of the Babri Masjid, Atal Bihari Vajpayee had a speech in which he drew parallels between Afghanistan and India.

 

No-Confidence Motion

In May 1996, Atal Bihari became the 10th Prime Minister of India. However, that term was not meant to be, as in a span of merely 16 days, Vajpayee resigned from his seat without even taking a confidence vote in the Parliament.

Post-Pokhran

When Vajpayee returned to power in 1998, he issued a go-ahead to the Operation Shakti, otherwise known as Pokhran-II. Knowing India was being viewed with scrutiny by the other nuclear powers, India conducted the tests in as much secrecy as possible given the arid conditions of the Thar. Nevertheless, Pokhran-II was a success and cemented India's position as a nuclear state, though at the cost of sanctions by the United States and Japan, among others.

 

Joint Session of the US Congress

Just 2 years after Pokhran-II, while India was still facing sanctions from the US, Vajpayee addressed the 106th joint session of the US Congress. During the speech, Vajpayee addressed the external threats India faced, saying "they are doomed to fail in their task to unravel India's territorial integrity and show that a multi-cultural society cannot exist".

He also spoke of India's economic liberalisation, which had begun in the early 1990s and described how private and foreign investment was being encouraged.

 

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