MANGALURU: Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee cherished a special connection with undivided Dakshina Kannada district right from his young age when he was campaigning for Jan Sangh. His first visit to the undivided Dakshina Kannada district was in 1957. He came here to campaign for the then Jan Sangh and he was 32 years old at that time.
Whenever Vajpayee was in Udupi, he was accompanied by BJP leader Late Dr V S Acharya. Dr Kiran Acharya, son of Dr V S Acharya speaking to TNIE recalled vivid memories of Vajpayee. “Of the six times Vajpayee visited Udupi, he had breakfast at our home five times. His bond with my father was strong and I remember his poetic capabilities.
He attracted us through his mild manners and instant humour. My father used to drive for Vajpayee and I used to sit in the front seat of the car. Vajpayee preferred to talk. I have that Maruthi 800 car even now as I like to cherish those days’’, he recalled. “During 1980s, Vajpayee had come to Udupi and my father borrowed the Toyota Crown Super Saloon car from his close friend Rocky Dias. He drove that car for Vajpayee to Kannur in Kerala for a party programme’’, Kiran Acharya said. Kiran, who was in PU those days also recalled that Vajpayee liked ‘kashi halwa’ the most and used to eat it though he was a diabetic. “Vajpayee roamed without any escort of vehicles those days,’’ he said.
BJP leader in Dakshina Kannada district Harikrishna Bantwal told TNIE that Vajpayee had great regards for the culture of people in the undivided Dakshina Kannada district. “It was in the year 1981, a convention was organised at B C Road and after the convention, Vajpayee, BJP leader Late Karambally Sanjeeva Shetty from Udupi and myself went in a Contessa Car to Theerthahalli via Karkala and Agumbe. Vajpayee appreciated the nature’s beauty while moving in the car. Harikrishna Bantwal also said that Congress’ leader B Janardhan Poojary spoke to him over the phone on Thursday evening after the death of Vajpayee and Poojary told him that the nation has lost a statesman.