The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Golden’ boy takes a shine to party
- Rahul vows to make father proud and heaps praise on father-figure Atal

New Delhi, June 15: As he faced the media a day after getting bail, Rahul Mahajan spoke of making his late father ' from “wherever” he might be watching ' proud of him.

Main is sab se bedaag nikal jaoonga. Mere pitaji, woh jahan se bhi mujhe dekhenge, unko mujh par fakr hoga (I shall come out of this unblemished. My father, from wherever he might be watching me, would be proud of me),” he said.

“Gold turns even more beautiful if you pass it through fire. One learns from every experience in life and becomes better.”

Rahul went on to thank his friends and family for standing by him.

“I shall suffer for my deeds, but I wish to apologise to my mother (Rekha), sister (Poonam), to my uncle Mr (Gopinath) Munde and all other relatives and friends to whom this incident has caused pain and anguish.”

Most of his statements, however, concerned his other “family” ' the BJP ' and the man who now was his “father” when his real father was no more: Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

In a clear sign that jail and the drugs scandal had done nothing to dampen his political ambitions, the 31-year-old made overtures to the BJP and dismissed his uncle’s accusation that the party had deserted his family in its hour of need.

The charge had been hurled hours ago by Prakash Mahajan, who joined Raj Thackeray’s party today. It was serious enough for Vajpayee to himself publicly dismiss it. “Pramod Mahajan’s family has never said anything like this,” the former Prime Minister stressed.

Rahul took the cue from him. “It’s wrong to say that we were deserted. For me, the BJP is not a political party. It is like a family. I was born in it, I live in it and I would die for it.”

He also countered his other uncle Praveen’s statement, made yesterday, dragging Vajpayee into the controversy over the Mahajans’ lifestyle. “What he said was wrong.”

In his refusal to comment directly on a possible political career, Rahul again seemed to walk a path outlined by Vajpayee’s statement.

“In the circumstances, the first priority should be to successfully clear his (Rahul’s) name of all charges,” the former Prime Minister had said.

“Vajpayeeji and Rajnathji have been a source of immense strength. Vajpayeeji is like a father when my own father is no more. Right now, my priority is to' clear my name,” Rahul said.

He claimed he had “not committed any legal or moral wrong”.

“Today, I wish to tell the people of the country that I am not drug-dependent or a user. Because of this incident, I had to suffer imprisonment and humiliation and the loss of a close and sincere friend (Pramod’s secretary Bibek Moitra),” he said.

“Since April 22 (the day Pramod was shot), we have been through a lot. Losing a father and a friend in such quick succession is a misfortune I would not wish on anyone. There are people who sincerely stood by us. There may be some who have hidden agendas. About them, I sincerely have no answers.”

He concluded with a quote from Vajpayee.

“Vajpayeeji once said we spend too much time preparing the path for our youth, and far too little time preparing our youth for the path. Who can predict what the future holds for us' Thank you.”

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