Atal Bihari Vajpayee (25 December 1924 – 16 August 2018)

Just after India basked in the glory of celebrating its 72nd Independence Day, it seems that India had to endure quite an unfortunate and completely contradictory situation. Yes, we are talking about the sad demise of Sri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the ace Indian Politician who served thrice as the Prime Minister of India, first for a term of 13 days in 1996, for a period of eleven months from 1998 to 1999, and then from 1998 to 2004.

93-year-old Vajpayee was admitted to AIIMS on June 11 with a kidney tract infection and chest congestion. He retired from public life after his health turned frail and has been under the supervision of Dr. Randeep Guleria, the Director of AIIMS. For over three decades, Dr. Guleria, a pulmonologist, has served as a personal physician to Mr. Vajpayee.

A stream of political leaders had made their way to the bedside of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who has been admitted at the premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi for the last 9 weeks, and left for his home in the abode at  5:05 pm today evening. 

Rare Photos of The Former Prime Minister 

The list of visitors included the names of Political Honchos like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which was his fourth visit since the veteran BJP leader had been admitted at AIIMS, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, BJP lawmaker Meenakshi Lekhi and Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani. LK Advani, one of Mr. Vajpayee’s closest colleagues and his home minister in the NDA government from 1998 to 2004, was also included among the visitors.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee

An outstanding parliamentarian, master orator, poet and liberal, Mr. Vajpayee is hugely respected across all the party lines. On this very fateful day, let us all spare a minute to remember him and some of the trivial events associated with his life:

  • Born in Gwalior on 25th December 1924, he remained a bachelor throughout his life, however, adopted a daughter whom he named Namita.

  • Vajpayee as a teenager was in fact jailed for opposing the British Colonial rule. Quite surprisingly, he had a short stint with Communism, before finally supporting the Rashtriya Swamyamsevak Sangh (RSS) and, later, the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, or Jan Sangh.

  • Vajpayee attended now Laxmi Bai College(formerly Victoria College) in Gwalior, and DAV College in Kanpur, where he earned the degree of MA in Political Science.

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  • He was a staunch politician whose parliamentary career spanned five decades. He was elected as an MP of Lok Sabha ten times, and a Rajya Sabha MP twice.

  • Vajpayee was one of the founding fathers of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), along with veterans like Murli Manohar Joshi and Lal Krishna Advani. Also, he served as the first President of BJP from1980 to 1986.

  • He was the first Indian Prime Minister, not belonging to the Indian National Congress to serve a full five-year term.

  • An avid reader, accomplished poet, Vajpayee was also an excellent orator. While serving as India’s external affairs minister in Morarji Desai’s government, he delivered a widely acclaimed speech to the United Nations General Assembly in Hindi.

  • He was conferred India’s highest civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna, by the President of India in 2014. Prior to that, he also earned the title of Padma Vibhusan in 1992.

  • It was declared by the Modi government in 2014 that Vajpayee’s birthday, 25 December, would be marked as Good Governance Day.

RIP Sir! Your memories have etched a permanent place in our hearts!