Perhaps the most damning of Vajpayee’s achievement is the implementation of Agenda 21 in India.
Maine kisi ki mukhbari nahin ki, kisi ki chugli nahin ki (I did not inform on anyone. I did not complain against anyone). I was not an informer for the British,” said then Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2004 when confronted with charges of being a British informer during the Quit India Movement in 1942.
The charges came from an 82-year-old freedom fighter Leeladhar Vajpayee, a resident of Gwalior and a neighbour of the Prime Minister in his ancestral town, who along with another freedom fighter was jailed for their involvement in a 42-day non-cooperation movement because of Vajpayee’s deposition to British police. Vajpayee was among the 15 witnesses gathered by the British police on September 1, 1942, against him and the other person. “It is following these depositions that I was convicted of defying prohibitory orders, arson and violence. And I was jailed for five years,” he said.
The Bombay weekly, Blitz (26 January 1974) published a long report showing that Vajpayee “had betrayed his revolutionary colleagues in the 1942 freedom struggle by disclosing their names to the police and apologised his way out of jail”. The report gives details of the whole case and the court proceedings of the time. It also refers to an article of Atal’s brother, Prem Bihari Lal Bajpai, published in Sandesh, the official organ of the Madyhya Pradesh government, dated May 12, 1973 in which he had admitted the arrest of both himself and his brother Atal in connection with the Bateswar case. He also revealed that, on the intervention of Sir Girija Shankar Bajpai, then member of the Viceroy’s Council, both of them were released.
In 1989, a pamphlet titled “How patriotic is Atal Behari Vajpayee who betrayed the ‘Quit India’ movement led by Mahatma Gandhi in 1942” was issued by D.S. Adel in New Delhi on behalf of the All India Freedom Fighters Organisation (AIFFO) which included Vajpayee’s confessional statement given to British police further alleging that Vajpayee’s statement was “a calculated attempt to foul the memory of August 9 and continue his nefarious role which he played in the 1942 Quit India Movement as a British Government Approver when he implicated a number of freedom fighters to save his skin.”
On August 5, 1997, the president and vice-president of the Maharashtra Seva Dal, Chandrakant Dayamahave and Subodh Solanki, raised the issue in an appeal to Prime Minister I.K. Gujral. They asked him not to share a dais with Vajpayee at a function organised on August 9 at Mumbai’s August Kranti Maidan to commemorate the Quit India movement – unless Vajpayee “apologised” for his confessional statement.
Whether Vajpayee was a British spy or not and although these details about his controversial past is common knowledge, there are crucial facts regarding the policies he implemented after becoming the Prime Minister of India that most people are not aware about. We highlight just a few of them below.
#SpyRatna – From British Spy To Bharat Ratna