Modi makes courtesy calls on Vajpayee, George Fernandes

New Delhi, Oct 11 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday made courtesy calls on former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and former union minister George Fernandes.

Modi visited the two leaders on the occasion of the 113th birth anniversary of Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan, who gave the call of ‘Sampoorna Kranti’ (total revolution) against the then Indira Gandhi government in 1974 leading up to the Emergency.

Both Vajpayee and Fernandes were among the key leaders who fought against the Emergency.

“Spent time with Atal-ji and George Sahab earlier today. Who can forget their pivotal role in safeguarding democracy, inspired by JP’s call!” Modi later tweeted.

Vajpayee was then a leader of Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the predecessor of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Jana Sangh was one of the opposition parties to rally behind Jayaprakash Narayan against the Indira Gandhi government.

Fernandes was a leading trade unionist who organised the 1974 Railway strike, when he was president of the All India Railwaymen’s Federation. Fernandes went underground during the Emergency era while challenging prime minister Indira Gandhi for imposing a state of emergency, but in 1976 he was arrested and tried in the infamous Baroda dynamite case.

Fernandes was subsequently a senior member of prime minister Morarji Desai’s cabinet when the Janata Party took office in 1977. He founded the Samata Party in 1994, which later merged with Janata Dal-United. That party is at present in power in Bihar.

Ailing for a while now, both Vajpayee and Fernandes have been away from politics and public limelight.

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