On Thursday, political leaders in the city paid rich tributes to the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and reminisced about the moments they shared with the BJP patriarch while the entire country is mourning for the leader.
Right from his days as a leader of Jan Sangh ( the precursor to the BJP ) he had visited Visakhapatnam and its neighboring areas several times for campaigning. He has first visited the city in 1967 to campaign for Ch. Rama Rao who contested from Vizianagaram Assembly. And once again in 1981 to address the victory meeting of BJP after it won the corporation elections with N.S.N. Reddy becoming mayor. Later he become sick and had taken him to KGH.
Mr. Vajpayee addressed a number of meetings at Anakapalle during 1998 elections where Mudragada Padmanabham, Daggubati Venkateswara Rao and actor Mohanbabu joined the party and he also addressed a meeting at AU Engineering College Grounds.
As a part of his ‘Bharat Parikrama Yatra ‘ in the city, Mr.Vajpayee addressed meetings at Anakapalle and at Lankapalli Bullayya College Grounds in 1995. His last visit to the city was during the 2004 elections when he also shared dals with the then Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.
Mr. Haribabu recalled that Mr. Vajpayee was instrumental in preventing the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant going before Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction by announcing the package of 1,330 crores to give the financial assistance and to save it from collapse in 1998-99. The Visakhapatnam airport received a boost with the sanctioning of night-landing facility and instrumentation landing system during his tenure when it suffered from poor connectivity,” Mr. Haribabu said.
He also added that besides the golden quadrilateral project, the Port Connectivity Road was also laid during his tenure as well as the housing under WAMBAY scheme.
In 1987-88 during the party meeting at AU Convocation Hall, Mr. Vajpayee has presented a purse of 1lakh to mark his ‘shastipoorti,’ said BMS leader K. Bhavanisankarudu. Mr. Vajpayee told him that he too studied law at a night college. Senior BJP leader
In 1983 the former Prime Minister visited the city as the first president of the BJP when he was congratulated at Indira Priyadarshini Municipal Stadium said Prithviraj.
In BJP office condolence meeting was held at the city with Mr. Haribabu, Mr. Madhav, P. Vishnu Kumar Raju, M. Nagendra and Kasi Viswanatha Raju participated.