Patwaji was a great and spirited leader – Shivraj Singh Chouhan

Bhopal, December 29, 2016 (Ataullah Faizan):  I first met Patwaji during by-elections of 1974. I was deeply impressed by his brilliance, dynamism and eloquence. He was an exceptionally skilled organizer and vibrant leader. His amazing orational skill was widely recognized. In Vidhansabha there used to be pindrop silence during his speech. I came closer to Patwaji in 1985 when he contested from Bhojpur constituency. We worked against time and had the privilenge to see him work closely. He had tremendous courage and dynamism. When he was State BJP president he appointed me State Yuva Morcha President. He always inspired and motivated all to live up to their potentials. He always bubbled with enthusiasm of a youth. It was only due to hard work of party workers and popularity of Patwaji that BJP came to power in 1990. His Padyatra from Bastar to Jhabua immensely increased his popularity. During the Yatra he was quite jolly and sang songs and poems. He never knew fatigue.  Patwaji lived a pure and wholesome life. Even at the age of 92 he was averse to being called a Vridha or aged. He had a very rare quality of encouraging the younger generation. After becoming the Chief Minister I received his valuable guidance from time to time. I always met him to seek his guidance in any adverse situation. Patwaji had a deep impact on my personal life as well. I had decided to remain a bachelor, but he inspired me to be a householder and devote my life to service of society and nation. During my tenure as Yuva Morcha president the Ram Janmbhumi movement had started at Ayodhya. Large number of Rambhaktas sacrificed their lives. After this, former Prime Minister Mr. V.P. Singh visited Bhopal. We decided to oppose him. Patwaji was the Chief Minister.

The administration had made fool proof security arrangements, but the Yuva Morcha succeeded in disrupting his visit. We showed black flags and held agitations.We were can-charged. In return, we pelted stones. Mr. V.P. Singh staged a sit-in outside CM residence. I apprehended that Patwaji would be very angry. But to our pleasant surprise Patwaji came out and told the media that when a large number of Rambhaktas had lost their lives, a small agitation and little stone pelting would not bring down the skies.

Patwaji was a truly even-minded person. He had equilibrium of mind. When his government was dissolved in 1992 following Ram Mandir movement, he remained calm and composed. He boarded a State Transport bus in the evening and left for Indore.  Patwaji was always ready to fight out for the cause of public. He led many agitations and protests. He observed a long fast unto death protesting against the killing of farmers in Multai by Digvijay government. He led protests against corruption and atrocities of the administration against farmers even at the risk of his life. He led an eight-day-long fast unto death at Peer Gate Bhopal.

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