As the government named Atal Bihari Vajpayee for the Bharat Ratna, senior BJP leader L.K. Advani Wednesday said the former prime minister's tenure at the helm was "blemishless" and he did not think the 1999 Kargil conflict and the 2002 Gujarat riots could be considered negative points.In an interview to NDTV, Advani, who was home minister and also deputy prime minister in the Vajpayee-led NDA government, said among all the prime ministers since independence there was "not a blot" on Vajpayee's tenure.He said in his blog, he has pointed out there have been 14 prime ministers of India since 1947, with the foremost among them being Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.
According to Advani, both Nehru and Indira Gandhi had some issues marring their tenure. "In the case of Nehru it is difficult to justify his handling of China.""In case of Indira Gandhi too, though she also acquitted herself well generally but no one can forget the emergency; certainly not persons like me," he said.Advani did not think the 1999 Kargil conflict with Pakistan and the 2002 Gujarat riots, both of which took place during Vajpayee's tenure, could be considered a blot on his record.
He said Kargil "was something done by General (Pervez) Musharraf against the wishes of his government, perhaps. At least, that is what those in the army claim".On the 2002 Gujarat riots, that left more than 1,000 people mostly Muslims dead, Advani said: "As for the Gujarat riots you cannot blame Atal ji for that. That happened in a state."