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'Mahajan was a fearless man'
Sheela Bhatt | May 03, 2006 21:16 IST
Pratap Ashar is a broken man. One of late Pramod Mahajan's two closest confidantes, he has been shaken by the Bharatiya Janata Party leader's death. Popularly known as Ashar bhai, he handled much of Mahajan's confidential and other matters. The other loyalist was Bibek Maitra, who was Mahajan's constant shadow.
"I did not have the courage to see him in the ICU. I cannot even begin to describe this terrible tragedy," Ashar told rediff.com after Mahajan's death on Wednesday afternoon.
In fact, on the morning of April 22, just minutes before he was shot at by brother Pravin, Mahajan had spoken to Ashar, inviting him for a meal at his Worli residence, before they both left for Uttranchal. Mahajan planned to join BJP chief Rajnath Singh's yatra there. And these were his last words to a loyal friend of over two decades.
Besides former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and BJP leader L K Advani, Ashar was one of the few people invited to Mahajan's daughter Poonam's wedding, which was a low-key affair. Mahajan had also stayed with Ashar in Ghatkopar, when he fought the Lok Sabha elections from that constituency.
Ashar, a former employee of Mukund Iron and Steel, said, "I met him during the 1984 general elections and we were friends since then. He always kept in touch with friends, enquiring after us. He was open to advice from others. He was methodical, which made him a good organiser and he took decisions quickly, with conviction. He went to any extent to help his friends."
"Above all," said Ashar, "This man was fearless. If he believed in something, he would go ahead and do it."
Complete coverage: Pramod Mahajan shot