“Governments may rise and fall, leaders may come and go, but this nation’s enduring existence is paramount. Its survival is imperative.”

  • Atal Bihari Vajpayee, 1996

On May 16, 1996, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was sworn in as the Prime Minister of India for the first time. However, a mere 13 days later, the BJP-led government under Vajpayee faced a no-confidence motion and was defeated in the vote. Consequently, Vajpayee’s inaugural term as Prime Minister concluded a mere fortnight after its commencement.

Before the government’s downfall, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, known for his composed demeanor, took the floor of the parliamentary House. Addressing the impending no-confidence motion, he accused the Congress of attempting to dismantle his government.

In his address, Vajpayee, a veteran of the BJP, delivered an impassioned speech that emphasized the need to prevent the polarization of India along caste and religious lines. He criticized the Opposition, proclaiming, “If you seek to establish a government by ousting us, you may succeed, but I anticipate its transience.”

During his extensive reply to the House preceding the 1996 no-confidence motion, Vajpayee accused the Congress of resorting to “sinister” tactics in its bid to topple his administration.

He further asserted that numerous members of the Opposition, who had aligned with the Congress, would perpetually remain answerable to the directives of the Congress’ central leadership.

To delve deeper into the content of the late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s discourse before the 1996 no-confidence motion, watch the accompanying video.

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