Why Vajpayee once complained against Pranab Mukherjee?

Why Vajpayee once complained against Pranab Mukherjee?

Pranab Mukherjee file photo (AFP)

Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pranab Mukherjee, who passed away on August 31, shared a great rapport, but when Indira Gandhi chose the latter as finance minister in 1982, the BJP leader was not amused.

Vajpayee had felt the appointment was not proper as Mukherjee was a Rajya Sabha MP and not elected to the Lok Sabha. He immediately wrote to the then Lok Sabha Speaker Balram Jhakkar "complaining about the appointment".

Also read: Pranab Mukherjee a man of many misses

Vajpayee's biographer Kinghsuk Nag, a journalist, says the former prime minister had an uncanny ability to raise issues that would "never occur" to anybody else.

The BJP leader's argument was that there was a "patent anomaly arising from the appointment that the member who pilots the finance bills and appropriation bills will not be entitled to vote for it. As a natural corollary, the finance minister has always been a member from the Lok Sabha. This is so axiomatic that there is no dispute about this," Vajpayee is quoted as saying in Nag's 'Atal Bihari Vajpayee: A Man for All Seasons'.

Interestingly, 30 years down the line, Vajpayee as prime minister appointed a Rajya Sabha MP Jaswant Singh as his finance minister on April 10, 2002.

With a huge friend circle, Vajpayee never badmouthed or criticised people. When his nephew Anup Mishra, then an MP, and others met him to complain against the then Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh and asked why he was referring to him as a good man when Singh was troubling them, Vajpayee said: "I still say that he is a good man."