Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh who has retained his position of CM in the state since 2003 has found a unique way to pay tribute to former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Raman Singh has declared that a statue of the former PM will be installed in all the 27 district headquarters of the state. He also declared that the new capital of the state Naya Raipur which is being developed at a location approximately 20 km southeast of Raipur will now be named Atal Nagar, after the late PM. The decision to rename the new capital and of installing the statues were taken after a meeting of the Chhattisgarh cabinet which was presided over by the incumbent CM. “A memorial of Atal ji will come up in Naya Raipur. A statue of Vajpayee will also be installed at Naya Raipur as well as in all 27 district headquarters of the state and a central park will be developed in Naya Raipur in the name of former prime minister”, Singh said to reporters after the meeting.
There are many other plans which Raman Singh has in mind to pay tribute to the former PM Atal Ji, whom Singh considers to be his political guru. It is noteworthy that Raman Singh was made the Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry by the late PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Raman Singh served in the post from 1999 to 2003, following which he took oath as the CM of Chhattisgarh, a position he never had to vacate till date. The formation of Chhattisgarh was done at the behest of the BJP government in the centre led by PM Atal Ji on 1st November 2000.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s demise had saddened the politicians and common people across all lines, Raman Singh had himself accepted that his political career had become possible only due to the guidance of the late PM. Singh after learning about the death of Atal Ji on 16th August had said, “I don’t have words to bid farewell to Atal ji. He was my ‘guru’ (mentor) and father figure to me. Like 125 crore people of India, I am also stunned and disturbed on his death”. He further said, “Over 2.50 crore people of Chhattisgarh will always remember him as the founder of this state. In 1998, Vajpayee had promised to form Chhattisgarh while addressing a massive public rally in Raipur and he fulfilled his promise in 2000 (the year the state came into existence)”.
The decision to rename the new capital being built to Atal Nagar is a brilliant way to pay tribute to the late leader who alone can be credited with the creation of the state. Along with this the incumbent CM also announced that the Bilaspur University, the newly-built medical college in Rajnandgaon, the Marwa Thermal Power Plant in Janjgir-Champa district, and the under-construction expressway in Raipur will also be named after the former PM. To commemorate his memory a special award “Atal Bihari Vajpayee Sushasan award” will also be given to panchayats and urban bodies on the occasion of Chhattisgarh formation day which falls on October 1 every year. A biography of the former PM will also be included in the textbooks of state boards of Chhattisgarh and the second phase of Raman Singh’s ‘Vikas Yatra’ which is in the run-up to the assembly polls will now be renamed to ‘Atal Vikas Yatra’.