| Atal Bihari Vajpayee comes out of the hospital in Gwalior on Monday. (PTI)
Gwalior, April 28: For today, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was Big Brother first and Prime Minister next.
Informed last night that his younger sister Urmila Mishra was not “in very good condition”, Vajpayee dashed here this afternoon and had her airlifted to the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences.
Seventy-two-year-old Urmila is suffering from breast cancer, diabetes and hypertension. She was being treated at the local Jayarogya Hospital.
Official sources said her son Anoop called up Vajpayee last night and told him she was not keeping very good health. The Prime Minister is believed to have immediately decided to fly to Gwalior, a couple of AIIMS doctors in tow, and shift Urmila to Delhi for better treatment and medical facilities.
After touching down around 2 pm, Vajpayee — looking grim and worried — drove straight to the Jayarogya hospital, where Urmila was in the intensive care unit. He stayed there for an hour and 45 minutes, supervising matters as the Delhi doctors took a look at his sister.
The three Gwalior doctors — P.C. Mathur, P.K. Jain and Puneet Rastogi — who had been attending to Urmila said there was no reason for panic as her condition was stable.
But the creases on Vajpayee’s forehead told a different tale. Looking as helpless as any relative of a cancer patient, he came out to greet the media before leaving, but refused to take questions. Anoop — a BJP legislator — said he was too distressed to talk politics.
For friends and acquaintances, Vajpayee’s concern for his family — living in Sindhi Colony — is nothing new. Although termed a loner in Delhi’s political and social circuits, Vajpayee has regularly taken time off his pressing schedule to renew links with his family.
Sources said Vajpayee has rarely skipped the Gwalior trade fair or stayed away during Raksha Bandhan. Some family members recalled how he gave them pocket money and gorged on chaat from a particular vendor.
Before he became Prime Minister in 1998, Vajpayee used to spend a lot of time with his family — comprising almost 55 members — at his ancestral home in Shinde ki Chavni. He is also believed to have prepared special meals and recited his favourite poems at family get-togethers in winter.