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Consensus-maker: On Vajpayee

Vajpayee demonstrated that politics is indeed the art of the compromise
If one word could best describe(वर्णन/चित्रित करना) a man, then for Atal Bihari Vajpayee that would have to be compromise  Ever the contrarian(विपरीत), Vajpayee was equally the consensus-seeker (आम सहमति साधक) and the alliance(संबंध/गठबंधन)-builder who could traverse(लांघना/पार जाना) ideological(विचारधारा) divides and overcome political animosities(दुश्मनी/बैर) with a skill set that was a throwback to the Nehruvian era(युग). A brilliant parliamentarian and a shrewd(कुशल/बुद्धिमान)politician who could demolish(ध्वस्त/धराशायी करना) political opponents with his acerbic(तेज़) wit(बुद्धि/वाक्-पटुता), Vajpayee was also the elder statesman(राजनेता/राष्ट्र-कर्मी ) who was never afraid(भयभीत) to reach out and make peace with India’s neighbours. Without a doubt, he was born of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the torchbearer(ज्ञानप्रचारक) of Hindutva. But his rise in the Jana Sangh was at a time when it was not on the ascendant(प्रबल), and this meant he always tried to outgrow(अधिक बढ़ना/विकसित हो जाना) his organisation(संगठन/संघ). Vajpayee spent a lifetime trying to make his party displace the Congress from power, and to this end he switched between fighting the Congress’s tactics(कार्यनीति/दाँव-पेच) and mimicking them. If the Jana Sangh came to power as part of the Janata Party in 1977, it was in no small measure(मात्रा/प्रमाण) due to his readiness(तत्परता/इच्छा) to mend fences and build(निर्माण) bridges with former political opponents. Indeed, he became the acceptable(स्वीकार्य) public face of a party propelled by divisive forces. Whether he was a mere frontman, a ‘mask’ as one of his party colleagues(सहयोगियों) described him, or a driver of change in an organisation with deep-seated prejudices(पक्षपात/हानि), is difficult to tell; the truth lay somewhere in between.

Vajpayee’s first hold on power was a stint as External Affairs Minister in the Janata government in 1977-79, where he made a bold effort to normalise relations with China. Subsequently, he had three stints(पद /नियम) as Prime Minister, a 13-day misadventure(दुर्घटना/अनिष्ट) without the required support in 1996, a 13-month experiment with strange bedfellows in 1998-99, and a full term with a reasonably cohesive(एकजुट ) alliance during 1999-2004. The National Democratic Alliance that the BJP formed in 1998 would not have been possible without Vajpayee as the leader. His image as a moderate(मध्यम/सीमित) trying to rein(लगाम/नियंत्रण) in extremist(चरमपंथी /अतिवादी) elements(तत्व) in his party made it easier for others such as the Telugu Desam, the Trinamool Congress and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam to join the NDA. The BJP would not have come withinsniffing(सूंघना) distance of power without him, but he brought the party to power by keeping its most contentious(विवादित )issues, Ayodhya, Article 370, uniform civil code, out. It is a matter of debate whether Pokhran-II was a strategic(रणनीतिक )mistake, an unnecessary concession to a hyper-nationalistic constituency(निर्वाचन क्षेत्र), but there is no denying theremarkable(असाधारण/उल्लेखनीय) maturity(परिपक्वता/सिद्धि) he displayed during the Kargil crisis in 1999. But the compromise man could not win a second substantive term. Forced as he was to carry on a delicate balancing act, he often came across as an indecisive and cautious Prime Minister, even if at times an endearing and loveable one. There was no way to judge whether he softened the BJP or the BJP toughened(सख़्त हो जाना) him. Perhaps it was a bit of both.



Important Vocabulary

1.Traverse(लांघना/पार जाना)
Synonyms: bisect, crisscross, cross, cut across, go over
Antonyms:stay, back up, confirm

2.Demolish(ध्वस्त/धराशायी करना)
Synonyms:annihilate, bulldoze, crush, decimate, devastate
Antonyms: build, construct, create, help, lose

Synonyms: anxious, apprehensive, frightened, nervous, scared
Antonyms: brave, calm, happy, unafraid, unworried

Synonyms: fitness, good will, keenness, preparation, preparedness
Antonyms: difficulty, dullness, inability, slowing, slowness

Synonyms: aide, ally, assistant, buddy, co-worker
Antonyms: enemy, foe, opponent, antagonist, detractor

Synonyms: caustic, harsh, sharp, acidic, acrid
Antonyms: calm, kind, mild, nice

7.Cohesive(एकजुट )
Synonyms: close-knit, united, adhesive, tenacious, connected
Antonyms: detached, divided, loose, separated, disjointed

8.Extremist(चरमपंथी /अतिवादी)
Synonyms: fanatic, radical, zealot, agitator, revolutionary
Antonyms: moderate, conservative

9.Stints(पद /नियम)
Synonyms:assignment, duty, job, spell, stretch
Antonyms: entertainment, failure, fun, pastime, stagnation



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