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Ex-PM Atal Behari Vajpayee passes away

Ex-PM Atal Behari  Vajpayee passes away
PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee in traditional Naga attire during his visit to Kohima in October 2003.
NEW DELHI, AUG 16 | Publish Date: 8/16/2018 12:42:10 PM IST

 7-DAY NATIONAL MOURNING DECLARED THROUGHOUT  THE  COUNTRY

Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, one of India’s most charismatic leaders who led the nation through several crises and held together a tenuous coalition with his inclusive politics, died here today. He was 93.

Vajpayee, a bachelor, is survived by his adopted daughter Namita Kaul Bhattacharya.

His death was announced by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) hospital where he was admitted June 11 with a variety of ailments.

“It is with profound grief that we inform about the sad demise of Former Prime Minister of India, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, at 05:05 PM,” the AIIMS said in a statement.

It said his condition was stable for the last nine weeks, but “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,” said the statement by Dr (Prof) Aarti Vij.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a host of other BJP as well as opposition leaders drove to AIIMS as it became clear that the end was near.

Vajpayee, who joined the Rastriya Swamsevak Sangha (RSS) in 1947 rose through ranks to become a stalwart of the BJP and was the first non-Congress prime minister to complete a full term in office. The body was taken to Vajpayee’s house on Krishna Menon Marg in Lutyen’s Delhi for the public to pay last respects to the departed leader.

Seen as a moderate face of BJP, Vajpayee’s first became prime minister in 1996, leading a shaky coalition whose members were suspicious of the BJP’s right-wing politics. It lasted for 13 days and collapsed after losing a vote of no-confidence. His second stint as prime minister was in 1998 when the NDA again came to power but that lasted for just 13 months. Finally, the NDA with Vajpayee as PM returned to power in 1999 and was voted out in 2004. 

A 10-time MP of the Lok Sabha, Vajpayee announced his retirement from politics in 2005. He was also a member of the Rajya Sabha twice. Vajpayee was born on December 25, 1924 in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh to a schoolteacher, Krishna Bihari Vajpayee, and Krishna Devi. Today, his birthday is celebrated as ‘Good Governance Day’.

After schooling, he graduated from Victoria College in Gwalior, now known as Laxmi Bai College. He did his M.A. in political science from DAV College in Kanpur. Following a brief flirtation with communism, he became a full-time worker of RSS in 1947.

President, PM and others condole

As the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away on Thursday, condolences started pouring in from leaders leaving boundaries of their respective parties.

Several leaders saw a personal loss in death of Vajpayee, one of India’s most respected leaders who led the nation through several crises and held together a tenuous coalition with his inclusive politics.

Expressing grief over the death of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, President Ram Nath Kovind today said the “gentle giant” will be missed by all.

In a post on Twitter, Kovind said his leadership, foresight, maturity and eloquence put him in a league of his own.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday described the passing away of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as “end of an era” and said that every Indian and every BJP worker will continue to be guided by his vision.

Modi said in a series of tweets that Vajpayee’s death had left him speechless but a wave of feelings was sweeping his mind. 

“Extremely sad to hear of the passing of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, our former prime minister and a true Indian statesman,” he said.

Veteran BJP leader L K Advani, who along with Vajpayee was a central figure in the party for much of its existence, described the former prime minister as one of the country’s tallest statesmen and his closest friend for over 65 years whom he will miss immensely.

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh said Vajpayee was a great patriot and among modern India’s tallest leaders who spent his whole life serving the country.

Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda mourned the death of Vajpayee, saying a vacuum has been created in the country’s politics with his passing away.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi said India has lost “a great son” who was loved and respected by millions. “Today India lost a great son. Former PM, Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji, was loved and respected by millions. My condolences to his family & all his admirers. We will miss him,” he said.

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi described former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as a “towering figure” who stood for democratic values and demonstrated this commitment in all his acts.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said he was pained beyond words at the demise of Vajpayee. “He had cherished the ideal of a developed and powerful India in which all persons lived together in unity, peace and harmony,” Singh said.

World leaders: On the death of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, leaders around the world shared condolence to the Indian government and family for the great loss. Countries including Russia, China, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, UK and the US pour condolences to India on the death of ex-PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered his deepest condolences over the death of former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

“Atal Bihari Vajpayee enjoyed a high international reputation with good reason. He will be remembered as a politician who made a great personal contribution to the development of friendly relations between our countries and the development of Russian-Indian highly privileged strategic partnership. I would like to offer my sincere condolences and words of support to the relatives and friends of the deceased, the government and the Indian people,” the Russian leader said in a letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In a condolence message sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said “We are deeply shocked at the sad demise of the former Prime Minister of India Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, one of the most famous sons of India...”

Pakistan tentative Prime Minister and Pakistan Tehreekh-E-Insaaf chief Imran Khan said, “Atal BihariVaajpayee was a tall political personality of the subcontinent. His attempts for the betterment of India-Pak relationship will always be remembered. Mr Vajpayee, as a foreign minister, took responsibility of improving India-Pak ties.”

7-day national mourning 

The Union Cabinet on Thursday announced national mourning for seven days from August 16-22 as a mark of respect to India’s former Prime Minister and Bharat Ratna awardee, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. 

Vajpayee will be accorded State Funeral at Smriti Sthal, New Delhi at 4 p.m. Friday.

Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said Central government offices across the country will observe a half-day on Friday. “The Cabinet has announced half day holiday in the afternoon of the day of funeral in all Central government offices & CPSUs across the country, and Delhi government offices. The National Flag to fly at half mast throughout India and Indian missions abroad till 22 August,” tweeted Singh.

1.5 acre land allocated for memorial: According to sources, one-and-a-half acre land has been allocated to build a smarak for Vajpayee at Rashtriya Smriti Sthal.

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