BJP’s controversial Aligarh mayor Shakuntala Bharti found herself in a pickle on Saturday during an address to Dharam Jyoti Mahavidyalya School students at Iglas on Saturday. According to a Times of India report, in an event held to celebrate the 155th birth anniversary of Madan Mohan Malviya and Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s 92nd birthday, the mayor referred to Vajpayee as “deceased” in her speech.
“Bharat ke purv pradhan mantri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji hamare beech me nahin rahe, lekin unki yadein hai (Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji is no longer with us, but his memories remain),” she said. Her statement not only took everyone by shock, but also did not go well with other leaders of BJP and other parties present.
However, Bharti tried to brush off criticism of the statement by saying that she was talking about Malviya and not Vajpayee. But, a video of the event was shown to her, she apologised for her mistake and said that she was feeling “miserable” about it. She also wished Vajpayee a healthy and a long life.
Vajpayee, the only non-Congress leader who served the nation as the prime minister and completed his full term, was born on December 25, 1924. He was among the founder members of the BJP. After former prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Vajpayee is the only prime minister to get three successive mandates. He was felicitated with country’s highest civilian honour, Bharat Ratna, on March 27, 2015. His birthday is also celebrated as Good Governance Day.
Earlier this year, Bharti had opposed Manoj Bajpayee starrer ‘Aligarh’ which she claimed defamed the city.
(With ANI inputs)