Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s life in politics spanned the evolution of Hindutva politics from the days when the Jana Sangh was just a marginal player in Nehru’s India to its rise to power as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). His driving ambition from the day he entered Parliament was to make his party the national alternative to the Congress, and this book tells the gripping story of how he achieved this ambition, becoming the first non-Congress prime minister to serve a full five-year term, paving the way for the BJP’s political dominance.
In many ways Vajpayee represents a bridge between the Nehruvian age and the Narendra Modi years. Spellbinding orator, coalition builder, wise statesman, benevolent father figure, Vajpayee was also a bundle of contradictions.
He was both Hindutva loyalist and liberal centrist; eloquent poet and ruthless political tactician; faithful member of the puritanical Sangh Parivar who never hid his unconventional personal life. The political leader whom even his opponents dubbed ‘the good man in the bad party’, he became – with all his flaws and weaknesses – arguably India’s most loved prime minister. Deeply researched, and with new insights and anecdotes from his closest confidants, this is the most revealing personal portrait there is of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.