Special Correspondent

He had good personal relations with functionaries of other parties: Pawar

MUMBAI: Rich tributes were paid to BJP general secretary Pramod Mahajan at an all-party condolence meeting here on Tuesday.

Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said that unlike senior BJP leaders such as Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L.K. Advani, Mahajan had come out of the narrow confines of his party and developed healthy personal relations with functionaries of other parties. He was an excellent parliamentarian, a good political manager and an able administrator though he had no previous experience.

"Mr. Mahajan was a self-made man and he had no family background that often helps many a leader and he came from a drought-prone district of the backward region of Marathwada in Maharashtra," Mr. Pawar said.

Mr. Advani said a large all-party meeting was held in Delhi's Ram Lila Grounds after the assassination of Jan Sangh president Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay where the best tributes had come from the then CPI leader, Hiren Mukherjee. "I felt happy when I learnt that CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechuri was expected to attend this meeting."

Mr. Advani said his failure to have good personal equations with leaders of other parties could be due to the "political untouchability" practised by them. But he agreed with Mr. Pawar and others that Mahajan possessed the quality of developing good relations with other leaders. "If all emulate this quality of Pramod, politics in India will achieve greatness and become purer."

BJP president Rajnath Singh, State RSS leader Ashok Kukade, the former Lok Sabha Speaker, Manohar Joshi, Republican Party leaders Ramdas Athavale and Prakash Ambedkar spoke.