Just another day for Vajpayee on Pokhran anniversary

May 11th, 2008 - 3:41 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, May 11 (IANS) Ten years ago on this day he stunned the world by announcing that India has conducted a nuclear test in the desert of Rajasthan and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rode the nationalist euphoria to win the general election that followed. But Sunday, on the tenth anniversary of the Pokhran blasts, former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had no special observance to mark the historic day “Today being Sunday, it is a day of rest for him,” Vajpayee’s personal aide told IANS. “There is no special programme on the Pokhran anniversary,” he added.

Vajpayee, 84, has been rarely seen in public in recent months and is said to be in declining health. He has withdrawn from day to day politics of his BJP and many saw the recent endorsement of the Indo-US nuclear deal by Brajesh Mishra, national security adviser and his closest aide when he was prime minister, as carrying his imprimatur.

The BJP too was not going to celebrate. “There are no programmes as such,” party MP and spokesman Prakash Javadekar said.

Incidentally, BJP leader and former deputy prime minister L.K. Advani has criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government for not marking the 10th anniverary of Pokhran nuclear tests, saying the ruling coalition had “dishonoured” late prime minister Indira Gandhi, under whose leadership the country had conducted the first nuclear test in Pokhran in 1974.

“It is a dishonour to Indira Gandhi. She was the one who started nuclear testing. What Vajpayee government did in 1998 was a culmination of it,” Advani was quoted saying Saturday.

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