SILCHAR, Aug 17 - As the whole country is bereaved at the death of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who breathed his last at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) New Delhi on Thursday at 5:05pm, former Silchar MP and a long-time compatriot of Vajpayee, Kabindra Purakayastha told The Assam Tribune, �he led and guided the whole population of India. But the loss his demise has brought to me and to my countrymen is irreparable. I have lost words.�
Purakayastha(86), who had joined a prayer meeting organised by the Cachar District BJP to seek blessings from the Almighty for the quick recovery and good health of Vajpayee looked deeply out of sorts as he kept a close look at the developments flashed by the media on television.
Recalling his days working as the MoS for Communications during the tenure of Prime Minister Vajpayee, Purakayastha said, �my first interaction with Vajpayee ji dates back to the 1950s when he was the general secretary of Bharatiya Jana Sangh and I was a youth cadre of the RSS. Since then, I consider myself blessed that he kept guiding me how to work for the party. I had never approached him to assign ministerial responsibilities upon me nor did anyone gave recomendations on my behalf. It was Vajpayee ji�s foresight that he trusted me to work for development of Assam.�
Speaking on the East-West corridor, a dream dreamt by Vajpayee, Purakayastha said, �when the project was being prepared, Vajpayee ji called me to ask what can be done for people of Silchar and Assam. I had a talk with him on this but never realised that two days later, he would be naming the project as Silchar-Saurastra Mahasadak, connecting this fringe part of the nation enmeshed by communication bottlenecks with the mainstream.�
Purakayastha, mourned the demise of Vajpayee saying,� Atal ji was not only a leader of a political party. He was a statesman who was concerned for the whole nation.�