Railwaymen mourns Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s demise

NEW DELHI: Hundres of Railway workers on Saturday paid homage to former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. The unique aspect about this gesture was the fact that he was once the president of a Indian Railways Station Masters’ Union. The railwaymen recalled the ex.Prime Minister’s dedication to the workers’ movement.

All-India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) President Shiv Gopal Mishra, in a statement, recalled how he met Vajpayee, then a Member of Parliament, on board the Delhi-bound Lucknow Mail during 1996-97.  “He was travelling in the same compartment in which I was. During the interactions that revolved around the prominent issues, he told me that he was in a hurry and was very hungry. No sight of any food was visible immediately in any stations. We some how managed to get him a dozen or so bananas. While he distributed five or six among the passengers, he ate the rest. I couldn’t believe how simple he was. After eating, he gave us his blessings,” he was quoted as said in the statement.

The union leader also recalled how, as the leader of opposition, Vajpayee was quick to arrive at the house of T.N. Bajpai, the veteran trade union leader, after his demise to pay his respects.  He added that despite being followers of opposing ideologies, Vajpayee maintained a good relationship with Mr Bajpai. “Even when he became Prime Minister in 1999, Vajpayeeji came and paid his respect to Bajpai’s statue at Alambagh in Lucknow. He even addressed the huge gathering of railway workers present there,” Mr Shiv Gopal Mishra said.