This will be the second portrait of a saffron leader to be displayed in Parliament's Central Hall after VD Savarkar
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will be banking on former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's legacy during the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
The ruling party is planning to unveil a portrait of the former prime minister in the Central Hall of Parliament on February 12. The unveiling will be done before the parliamentary proceedings of the day commence.
While a weekly parliamentary meeting of the party was scheduled for the day, all the BJP Members of Parliament (MPs) have been told to attend the unveiling instead.
This will be the second portrait of a saffron leader to be displayed in the Central Hall after VD Savarkar. Savarkar's portrait was installed in 2003 amid heavy criticism. Incidentally, it was the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by Vajpayee that had installed Savarkar's portrait.
Vajpayee, who died on August 16, 2018, was considered to be a leader with acceptance across party lines. According to a report by The Economic Times, the BJP will be banking on this aspect, as it may need more allies to retain power. Opinion polls have the predicted possibility of the general election yielding a hung House.
During BJP's national convention at New Delhi's Ramlila Ground on January 11-12, the party had displayed Vajpayee's poetry and photos prominently, and had begun the conclave by paying homage to the leader. The party has also named its meetings with booth-level workers as 'Atal booth karyakarta sammelan' and has also coined 'Ajay Bharat, Atal Bharat' as one of its slogans for the polls.
Vajpayee's legacy had played an important role during the December 2018 Assembly polls in five states, particularly in Chhattisgarh where Congress defeated the BJP by a large margin.
Vajpayee's niece, Karuna Shukla, had contested on a Congress ticket from Rajnandagaon, against then Chief Minister Raman Singh. The campaigning in the constituency revolved around Vajpayee, with both parties accusing each other of usurping the leader's legacy.
Similarly, the BJP had fielded another of Vajpayee's kin in Madhya Pradesh.According to the report, apart from Vajpayee's legacy, BJP is also planning to highlight the senior leader's poems and other works in the party's literature for the upcoming polls.