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Titled 'Asleep at the Wheel', the June 17 magazine report raised doubts about Vajpayee's leadership abilities, saying he was 'given to interminable silences, indecipherable ramblings and, not infrequently, falling asleep in meetings'.
"I feel a distinguished publication of the stature of Time should not indulge in publishing articles, which appear to be based on certain preconceived notions and contain extremely personalised and baseless views coloured by misrepresentation of facts, inter-linkage of unconnected events to discover a pattern, malice and falsehoods aimed towards causing intentional damage to the reputation and standing of a leader and a statesman of the calibre of Prime Minister Vajpayee of India," Agnihotri said in a letter to the magazine.
"No single Government of India has practised the democratic spirit and decision making process so successfully as has been done by the Prime Minister Vajpayee's coalition government of political parties with diverse political and popular representation," he says. "It is his grip and mastery over the political issues and his patience to deal with diverse coalition partners and political adversaries which has contributed to the success of this government."
He cites India's smooth accession to the WTO, low inflation, the Lahore Bus diplomacy, the Kargil episode and the restraint shown by the armed forces during the recent standoff with Pakistan as other examples of the prime minister's leadership capabilities.
"It was Vajpayee that outlined a close political and economic matrix of relationship with both Russian Federation and United States and side-by-side develop a strong independent and requisite deterrence strength and a policy of advanced and peaceful use of nuclear power to take care of India's borders and the growing menace of export of terrorism into India," he adds.
"Everybody who interacts with Prime Minister Vajpayee finds him absolutely to be in control, attentive and decisive at the same time. This fact is attested by the common man as well as the international leadership.
"It is beyond my comprehension why a respected and widely circulated international journal like Time is taking the trouble to equate India and Pakistan and denigrate a world leader like Prime Minister Vajpayee in such derogatory terms, " he concludes.
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