Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday expressed grief for former prime minister and BJP veteran Atal Bihari Vajpayee who passed away today at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). He was 93. “India grieves the demise of our beloved Atal Ji. His passing away marks the end of an era. He lived for the nation and served it assiduously for decades. My thoughts are with his family, BJP Karyakartas and millions of admirers in this hour of sadness. Om Shanti,” tweeted PM Modi.
The BJP veteran was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences here on June 11 with a kidney tract infection, urinary tract infection, low urine output and chest congestion. He had been on life support since the past three days. A health bulletin from the hospital announced his demise.
— ANI (@ANI) August 16, 2018
Highlighting Vajpayee’s leadership qualities, the Prime Minister said he set the foundations for a strong, inclusive India in 21st Century. “It was Atal Ji’s exemplary leadership that set the foundations for a strong, prosperous and inclusive India in the 21st century. His futuristic policies across various sectors touched the lives of each and every citizen of India.”
Recounting many countless memories with Vajpayee, PM Modi said his passing away is an ‘irreplaceable loss’. “Atal Ji’s passing away is a personal and irreplaceable loss for me. I have countless fond memories with him. He was an inspiration to Karyakartas like me. I will particularly remember his sharp intellect and outstanding wit.”
The Prime Minister also credited Vajpayee’s perseverance towards building the Bharatiya Janata Party ‘brick by brick’. “It was due to the perseverance and struggles of Atal Ji that the BJP was built brick by brick. He travelled across the length and breadth of India to spread the BJP’s message, which led to the BJP becoming a strong force in our national polity and in several states,” he said.
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.
He subsequently entered journalism and was editor of Rashtradharma, a Hindi monthly, the Panchjanya Hindi weekly and the dailies, Swadesh and Veer Arjun.