On the morning of April 22, when Pravin Mahajan pumped three bullets into his elder brother, Pramod Mahajan, the nation started bleeding. And when at 4.10 pm on May 3, Mahajan breathed his last, the nation dressed in mourning. Since the show has to go on, BJP will continue to move ahead. But, this time it will be without its master strategist, crisis manager and the man of all season. Mahajan has surged ahead in the saffron politics on the basis of sheer hard work and commitment to the party. At times he failed, often he succeeded. But the BJP'sdynamo always moved on. Mahajan, however, has often complained he never got the ?right press.? But in his death, the tribute paid to him by the national media, for a change, proved him wrong. Media'sresponse and coverage of Mahajan was overwhelming. From a journalistic point of view, Mahajan was one of the few political leaders, who never misled the scribes, nor ever he tried to make them write about his achievements. Mahajan'sbriefing and de-briefings not merely contained interesting anecdotes, but his political analysis and reading of a situation was highly valued by the beat reporters. A fighter to the end, during an informal chat with the scribes Mahajan once talked about his friends and foes. ?If you ask my friends, they will say, he is yaron ka yar, but my enemies think otherwise.? The man, whom former Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee had anointed as ?Lakshman? was reportedly working on the blue print for 2009 general elections, when the bullets fired from the gun of his younger brother felled one of the brightest stars in the country'spolitical firmament. In the Lotus brigade, Mahajan, a thinker, tactician and excellent orator, regarded second to Atal Behari Vajpayee, was also a graceful loser. He would often say: ?No battle is lost till the last ship is sunk.? Once asked whether the party'sdebacle during the 2004 elections could be the end of the road for him he laughed: ?Isn'tthere a movie called Never Say Die? Where is the question of dying at 54?? Fifty-six-year-old Mahajan passed away at 4.10 pm on Wednesday the May 3.
Controversies has always been a part of Mahajan'slife. In one of his media interviews, he had said: ?Controversies always follow me.? In turbulent saffron politics, this charismatic leader has gone through his shares of ups and downs. Yet he always faced the media and the people with his electric smile. He never allowed criticism and controversies to take a grip on his political life. Mahajan, a product of grass-roots politics, emerged as the modern face of a conservative party. If media reminded him of criticism about his life-style, Mahajan would reply: ?There is nothing wrong if someone likes to dress well. Simple living doesn'tmean wearing crumpled clothes.? After BJP'sdebacle in the last general elections, Mahajan was asked whether he was keeping a low profile. His reply was: ?I am not keeping a low profile. Profiles of politicians are always decided by the press. If you talk, they say you are talking too much, if you don?t, they say you have a low profile. It is very difficult to judge how an adequate profile can be kept.? Mahajan has never been apologetic about his life style. Despite controversies and criticisms, Mahajan was also committed to saffron ideology. But at the same time, the modern face of a conservative party was also realistic. He wanted the construction of Ram mandir, he wanted abrogation of Article 370, and supported uniform civil code. But he wanted people'spariticipation in achieving his dreams. Mahajan, who started his political career as an RSS pracharak, grabbed the media attention as a fiery orator, when he joined L.K. Advani on his rathyatra in 1990 and in 1992, he went on to become BJP general secretary. A master in realpolitik, a few in his generation can match his organisational skills. His critics would often talk about his failure to win elections. True, of the three Lok Sabha elections contested by him, Mahajan won only one. But the mass appeal of this man remained unparalleled in his generation of the leaders. His appeal was evident as crowds continued to soar in front of the Hinduja hospital. Leaders and cadres cutting across party line queued up to visit him. And as the flames from his pyre rose high, tears trickled down from the moist eyes of all those who came to bid farewell to the man, who would never say die.