A file picture of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the only non-Congress leader to have completed a full term as Prime Minister, breathed his last at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences on Thursday evening. The 12-time Parliamentarian was 93.
“Unfortunately, his condition deteriorated over the last 36 hours and he was put on life support systems. Despite the best of efforts, we have lost him today. We join the nation in deeply mourning this great loss,” an AIIMS bulletin said.
Mr. Vajpayee was admitted to the AIIMS on June 11 with a kidney tract infection and chest congestion. The BJP leader, who was diabetic with one functional kidney, suffered a stroke in 2009, weakening his cognitive abilities.
He will be given a state funeral in the national capital on Friday. His last rites will take place at Smriti Sthal close to Rajghat at 5 p.m. Mr. Vajpayee’s body will be taken from his Krishna Menon Marg residence to the BJP headquarters on Deendayal Upadhyay Marg at 9 a.m. and the nearly three-km funeral procession to Smriti Sthal will begin at 1 p.m. The Union Cabinet also announced state mourning for seven days and a half-day Central government holiday on Friday.
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away on August 16, 2018 . He was 93.
Vajpayee, the first Prime Minister from BJP, was also the first non-Congress PM to complete full five years.
Vajpayee's political journey began with the RSS. He was arrested for participating in Quit India Movement.
Inspired by Syama Prasad Mookerjee, Vajpayee joined Bharatiya Jana Sangh when the party was launched. Jana Sangh went on to become the BJP.
Vajpayee was elected to Lok Sabha from Balrampur for the first time in 1957. He served the Lok Sabha for a record 10 times.
Vajpayee, along with several leaders, were arrested for opposing Emergency in 1976.
The next year, Jana Sangh joined the mega anti-Congress coalition, Janata Party to which Indira Gandhi's Congress lost. Moraji Desai became the first non-Congress Prime Minister and Vajpayee took care of the External Affairs Ministry. Photo shows Vajpayee (2nd Left) with Moraji Desai (3rd Left) in Washington in 1978.
As the External Affairs Minister, Vajpayee made his speech in Hindi, for the first time in the United Nations General Assemby.
When the Janata Party collapsed in 1979, Vajpayee and several former RSS leaders like L.K. Advani, Bhairon Singh Shekawat and Murli Manohar Joshi formed the BJP.
In 1998, BJP headed the National Democratic Alliance government. This time Vajpayee's government lasted for 13-months. The NDA government had to resign after losing a vote of confidence by a single vote.
The 13-month Vajpayee government will be remembered for successfully conducting nuclear tests in Pokhran. Here, Vajpayee is seen in the Pokhran blast site with the then Defence Minister George Fernandes and scientist APJ Abdul Kalam.
Vajpayee's term will also be remembered for the Kargil War. The victory of Kargil war ensured a third-term to NDA with a comfortable majority.
Vajpayee re-started peace process with neighbouring Pakistan. With his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, Vajpayee launched the Delhi-Lahore bus service in 1999. The Lahore Declaration renewed trade relations and friendship between both the nations.
Vajpayee returns after paying homage to those who lost their lives in the Parliament attack. Following the Dec. 13, 2001 parliament attack, Vajpayee-led government introduced the controversial anti-terror law, POTA.
In this September 13, 2003 file photo, The Hindu's former Editor G. Kasturi greets the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, on the occasion of the paper's 125th anniversary celebrations in Chennai.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee with President K. R. Narayanan during the swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Septmeber 08, 2003.
Vajpayee's third term re-opened Indo-Pak talks by inviting President Pervez Musharraf to Delhi.
When the 2002 Gujarat riots broke out, not only did Vajpayee condemned the violence, but was vocal in criticising the BJP government in Gujarat.
Vajpayee, reciting his poems, at a 'Kavi Sammelan' to mark his 79th birthday in New Delhi on December 25, 2003.
In 2004 general elections, NDA failed to secure majority. Congress-led coalition United Progressive Alliance formed the government under the leadership of Manmohan Singh. Vajpayee refused to be the Leader of Opposition and passed on the reigns to L.K. Advani.
Vajpayee retired from active politics citing health issues in 2005. He did not attend any public events after his retirement.
Vajpayee was never married. He has an adopted daughter Namita. Seen here with Vajpayee is his granddaughter Niharika at his Delhi residence in 2004.
Vajpayee was conferred the Bharat Ratna in 2015.
Mr. Vajpayee was Prime Minister thrice in 1996, 1998-1999 and 1999-2004. As his health deteriorated, he slowly withdrew himself from public life and was confined to his residence for several years.
In his condolence message, President Ram Nath Kovind stated, “His leadership, foresight, maturity and eloquence put him in a league of his own. Atalji, the Gentle Giant, will be missed by one and all.”
Condoling his death, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “His passing away marks the end of an era. He lived for the nation and served it assiduously for decades.”
In its tribute to Mr. Vajpayee, who famously described himself as a swayamsevak while he was Prime Minister in 2000, the RSS said, “A great personality, a steadfast & universally accepted leader, who instilled Bharatiya culture & values in public life, Atalji has left us today. The void left behind will remain forever.”
Born on December 25, 1924, in Gwalior, Mr. Vajpayee was elected 10 times to the Lok Sabha from four different States, the first time in 1957 from Balrampur in Uttar Pradesh, and was twice member of the Rajya Sabha.
As one of the founding members of the Jan Sangh in 1951, Mr. Vajpayee became its president in 1968 upon the death of Deendayal Upadhyaya.
As his parliamentary career flourished, Mr. Vajpayee made a name for himself as an orator and with his poetic flourishes. His poetry was collated in his book Meri Ekyaavan Kavitayein (My 51 Poems).