Why was Vajpayee against Pranab as FM in 1982?

Why was Vajpayee against Pranab Mukherjee as Finance Minister in 1982?

In one incident, Pranab Mukherjee had entered into an argument in Parliament about the practices of Hindu Gods. Credit: Reuters Photo

A B Vajpayee and Pranab Mukherjee shared a "great equation" and used to go for walks together at times but when Indira Gandhi chose the latter as Finance Minister in January 1982, the late BJP patriarch found it improper.

Vajpayee shot off a complaint to the then Lok Sabha Speaker complaining about the appointment. His contention was that Mukherjee was not a Lok Sabha MP and hence would not be able to vote on the Finance Bills which he would be piloting.

Read: Former President Pranab Mukherjee passes away at 84

The BJP veteran's argument was about the  “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 of the Lok Sabha. This is so axiomatic that there is no dispute about this,” Vajpayee is quoted as saying. Mukherjee’s job was saved because Jhakkar “struck down the argument”.

Also Read: Pranab Mukherjee: A man of many misses

Journalist-biographer Kingshuk Nag wrote in ‘Atal Bihari Vajpayee: A Man of All Seasons’ that the former Prime Minister had a knack of raising issues that would “never occur” to anybody else.

Both Vajpayee and Mukherjee shared mutual respect and the BJP leader had high regard for his friend from Congress.

In one incident, Mukherjee had entered into an argument in Parliament about the practices of Hindu Gods. Joshi challenged him but Mukherjee quoted Sanskrit hymns with their English translations.

“Atal told Pranab, I warned Joshi not to take ‘pangas’ with you on religious matters. He does not know that you have deep knowledge of the scriptures,” the book recalled.