I never dreamt of becoming PM: Vajpayee
December 25, 2003 20:38 IST
Overwhelmed by the heavy rush of people and well wishers who braved the morning chill to greet him as he turned 79, a visibly moved Atal Bihari Vajpayee said he had never dreamt of becoming the prime minister and owed his success to people.
"Whatever I am, it is because of you and if the need arises, I will get down from dais and sit amidst you," he told the BJP workers who came to his residence to wish him.
Vajpayee's statement came at the end of his 20-minute speech during which he asked partymen to prepare for elections to ensure a second term for the BJP-led coalition.
The celebrations held in the backdrop of BJP's spectacular win in the recent assembly elections, brought out the poet in Vajpayee as he recited a part of his famous poem Aao milke diya jalaye.
Recalling that he had never dreamt of becoming prime minister, he said his dream was to become a poet, whose recitations would receive a thunderous applause.
Vajpayee added on a philosophical note although only one person could remain at the top, it no way diminished the contribution of those who became foundations for the feat.
"One cannot reach the top unless he has the support of a solid foundation," he said.
At the outset, he told partymen in his characteristic witty style that they were doing an 'adventurous' job by extending greetings of 'happy returns' to an 80-year-old man.
President A P J Abdul Kalam, Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani, Lok Sabha speaker Manohar Joshi led a galaxy of leaders in Vajpayee.
The President spent about half an hour with prime minister and presented him a bouquet.
Shekhawat and his wife and Advani and wife Kamala were among the first ones to extend their greetings to Vajpayee.
Former president R Venkatraman also drove down to Prime Minister's official residence to greet him.
Several former prime ministers including P V Narasimha Rao, who was recently acquitted by a court in the Lakhubhai Pathak case, also wished Vajpayee. Chandrashekar, H D Devegowda and I K Gujral were among those who greeted Vajpayee.
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi also greeted Vajpayee telephonically. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharti, who led the BJP to a spectacular victory in the state, wished him many happy returns of the day.