Modi launches book on veteran leader Chandra Shekhar

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NEW DELHI: The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday released the book “Chandra Shekhar – The Last Icon of Ideological Politics.” The book has been written by Shri Harivansh, Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha; and Shri Ravi Dutt Bajpai. The book release event was held at the Balayogi Auditorium, Parliament Library Building. The Prime Minister presented the first copy of the book to the Vice President of India, Shri Venkaiah Naidu.

Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said that in today’s political context, it is remarkable that even after about 12 years of his passing away, the thoughts of former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar ji, continue to guide us, and are as vibrant as ever.

Congratulating Shri Harivansh for writing the book, the Prime Minister shared some memories and anecdotes of his interactions with Shri Chandra Shekhar.

He recalled that he had first met Chandra Shekhar in 1977. He said that he was travelling with former Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, and had met Shri Chandra Shekhar at Delhi Airport. He said that the two leaders shared a close bond, despite their different political ideologies.

The Prime Minister also recalled that Shri Chandra Shekhar ji addressed Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji as “Guru ji.” He described Chandra Shekhar ji as a man of remarkable culture and principles, who did not hesitate to oppose the dominant political party of his time, because he disagreed with certain aspects of it.

The Prime Minister mentioned political leaders such as Mohan Dharia ji and George Fernandes ji, both of whom, he said, spoke highly about Chandra Shekhar ji.

Shri Narendra Modi recalled his last meeting with Shri Chandra Shekhar ji. He said the ailing former Prime Minister had telephoned him and invited Shri Modi to visit him whenever he was in Delhi. During that interaction, Shri Chandra Shekhar ji had inquired about Gujarat’s development, and shared his perspective on many national issues.

The Prime Minister appreciated his clarity of thought, commitment to the people, and dedication to democratic principles.

The Prime Minister also recalled the historic Padyatra that Shri Chandra Shekhar ji had undertaken, for the farmers, the poor, and the marginalized. The Prime Minister said that it is unfortunate that we failed give him the respect he deserved, at that time.

The Prime Minister said that there is a coterie of people who have sought to create adverse impressions of some great Indian leaders, including Dr. Ambedkar and Sardar Patel. He asserted that a museum for all former Prime Ministers will be established in Delhi. He urged the family members of former Prime Ministers to share aspects of the life and work of these Prime Ministers. He said the country needs a new political culture, beyond political untouchability.

Speaker, Lok Sabha, Shri Om Birla; Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha, Shri Harivansh; and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, were present on the occasion, and also addressed the gathering.