Mumbai, (The Hindu): Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s maiden visit to the financial capital was sponsored by a paltry allowance of Rs.20, extended to him as part of an outreach programme of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh.
Senior leaders and friends fondly recall receiving the newly-appointed national president of the Jana Sangh in 1968 at the Mumbai Central (then Bombay Central) station. From there, he was ferried in a double-decker bus to the residence of late Vishveshwar Nath Bakshi, who was in charge of the fledgling Sangh for Mumbai and surrounding regions.
After that, he visited the city several times. In 1980, it was in Mumbai that Vajpayee famously said: “kamal khilega (the lotus will bloom)”.
Upon his return to New Delhi after the 1968 visit, having stayed at Bakshi’s residence, Vajpayee returned the unspent Rs. 20 to the party treasury. “When Bakshi asked him why, Vajpayee replied that since he had not spent it on food, his stay and the party meeting, it was only fair to return the money to the party fund. This was the value system of the man,” said a member of the Bakshi family, which now resides in Charkop.
BJP MLA from Charkop Yogesh Sagar, a close friend of the Bakshi family, said, “This story was time and again repeated in party circles, especially to young MLAs who became part of the ideology. Vishveshwar Nath Bakshi, too, used to often tell us this story.”
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