Written byRamya Patelkhana
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's home state Madhya Pradesh played a huge role in shaping his political career.
The state is central to his political life because he was elected to the Lok Sabha twice from the state and was also declared the BJP's Prime Ministerial face for the first time at a rally 22 years ago at Manawar, in tribal-dominated Dhar district.
Vajpayee, who was born in Gwalior, was elected from the city famous for its palaces and forts to the Lok Sabha in 1971 as the Jan Sangh candidate.
Gwalior also has a temple built as a tribute to him by an admirer.
The BJP stalwart, who died in New Delhi last evening, was also elected from another Lok Sabha seat in the state, Vidisha.
Vajpayee lost from Gwalior in 1984 to Congress leader Madhavrao Scindia. In 1991, he contested from Vidisha and Lucknow, and won from both the places. However, he retained Lucknow and vacated Vidisha.
At Madhya Pradesh's Manawar, Vajpayee was first projected as the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate.
"I stand witness to the historic meeting attended by a large number of tribals. BJP patriarch LK Advaniji, for the first time in 1996, announced that Vajpayee will be Prime Minister in the event of the BJP coming to power at the Centre," BJP National Vice-President Prabhat Jha said.
"Advaniji sprang a surprise by choosing to make that announcement from a remote tribal area, Manawar in Dhar district, but it was carried well the next day in the media across the country," Jha, a Rajya Sabha MP, said.
Vajpayee was born in Gwalior on December 25, 1924, to Krishna Devi and Krishna Bihari Vajpayee in the Shinde Ki Chawni area.
The initial education of the poet-politician took place at Sheopur, which was then part of the Gwalior region.
He later came to Gwalior, where he took admission in the Government Gorkhi Higher Secondary School, a BJP leader said.
Moved by Vajpayee's love for Hindi, his admirer Vijay Singh Chouhan, an advocate, built a temple in 1995 in Satya Narain Ki Tekri area of Gwalior as a tribute to the former Prime Minister.
"Besides celebrating the Hindi Day every year on September 14, I also celebrate Vajpayee's birthday on December 25," Chouhan said.
Chouhan said, "I was highly impressed with Vajpayee ji for his chaste Hindi address at the United Nations to promote the language. I used to perform his 'aarti' daily by keeping a photo of Vajpayee inside the temple."
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