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Atal Bihari Vajpayee: India has lost its ‘anmol ratna’, says PM Modi

Atal Bihari Vajpayee dead: Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee passes away at 93. He was battling for his life at AIIMS. Several leaders made a beeline to the premier institute since morning.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: August 17, 2018 7:27:45 am
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Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee dead: Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and BJP stalwart passed away at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in the national capital on Thursday. He was 93. The premier institute, where a stream of leaders across party lines visited Vajpayee since morning, announced his death at 5:05 pm. The iconic BJP leader was admitted to the AIIMS in June and had been ailing for long.

He retreated from active public life over the last decade following the deterioration of his health and remained restricted to his residence. A host of leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the BJP patriarch at AIIMS.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee funeral LIVE UPDATES

Vajpayee was awarded India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna, in March 2015. During his second term as prime minister, Vajpayee ordered nuclear tests in May 1998 in a strategic masterstroke to blunt Pakistan’s nuclear ambitions. He followed this up with peace overtures to Pakistan, riding on the first direct bus from India to Pakistan in February 1999.

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Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away on Thursday at AIIMS. He was 93. Follow LIVE Updates here. Read in Bangla, Malayalam and Tamil

Highlights

    02:03 (IST)17 Aug 2018
    Pakistan’s caretaker minister for information and broadcasting to attend funeral of Vajpayee

    Pakistan’s caretaker minister for information and broadcasting Ali Zafar will be travelling to India to attend the funeral of former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on the instructions of caretaker PM Nasirulmulk. Earlier, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief and Prime Minister-designate Imran Khan said, “The sub-continent has lost a phenomenal and a visionary political figure today."

    00:37 (IST)17 Aug 2018
    Railway Recruitment Board exams to go on as per schedule, postponed in Kerala

    The railways today said the Railway Recruitment Board exams scheduled for tomorrow for the post of assistant loco pilots and technicians will go ahead as per schedule. "We are announcing that tomorrow's RRB exam will be conducted in all the three shifts as per schedule. This is being done through the RRB websites. Individual SMS-es are also being sent to about 4.36 lakh candidates," Rajesh Bajpai, Director, Information and Publicity, Indian Railways, said. He, however, added that due to the worsening of the flood situation in Kerala, it was not possible to conduct the exam in the southern state on Friday. "So, the exam at the Kerala centres is being postponed," Bajpai said.

    23:47 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Chhattisgarh also announces seven-day state mourning

    The BJP government in Chhattisgarh has also announced a seven-day state mourning following the demise of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. As a mark of respect to the departed leader, there will be a seven-day state mourning from August 16 to 22, as per an official statement. All government, semi-government and educational institutions will remain closed tomorrow (August 17), it said. During this period, the national flag will fly at half mast, it stated. No government entertainment and cultural programmes will be held, the release said.

    23:38 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Vajpayee was a shining star on horizon of Indian politics, says Speaker Sumitra Mahajan

    Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a shining star on the horizon of Indian politics. Remembering him, the Speaker said his demise was a loss which can not be regained. "Such an incredible and invaluable jewel adding to the glory of our motherland has left for heavenly abode today – the precious gem of the crown has left behind a void," she said in a statement. Meanwhile, Congress leaders Ashok Gehlot, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia paid tribute to the former Prime Minister at his residence in Delhi on Thursday.

    23:34 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Manipur governor declares seven day state mourning

    The Manipur governor issued a statement, declaring a holiday on Friday for all offices and educational institutions under the government as a mark of respect to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who passed away on Thursday at 93. The governor also announced seven days of state mourning from August 16 to August 22.

    23:16 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Pakistan PM-designate Imran Khan expresses grief over Vajpayee's demise

    Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief and Prime Minister-designate Imran Khan has expressed heartfelt grief over the sad demise of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. “The sub-continent has lost a phenomenal and a visionary political figure today," Khan said in a statement issued by the PTI's Central Media Department. 

    Lauding his role in strengthening Pakistan-India bilateral relations, Khan said that Vajpayee's contribution would never be forgotten.
    As foreign minister, Vajpayee strived to open ways towards normalisation of relations among neighbouring states and had successfully taken this agenda to the new heights after assuming the office of Prime Minister.

    The PTI chairman stated that there could be political differences between the two countries but the desire to establish peace existed on both sides of the border. Khan said the former PM’s sad demise had created a vacuum in the political arena of the sub-continent. In order to pay homage to his tireless services, Khan said, we could resort to the establishment and promotion of peace across the region. “I extend sympathies to the people of India in this hour of grief,” he said.

    22:44 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Amit Shah on Atal Bihari Vajpayee's death: India lost a tall leader, youth lost their inspiration
    Amit Shah while addressing media said that the country has lost a great leader (Praveen Jain)
    Amit Shah while addressing media today said that the country has lost a great leader (Praveen Jain)

    With tears in his eyes, BJP president Amit Shah condoled the demise of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who breathed his last on Thursday after battling a prolonged disease at the All India Institute of Medical Science in the national capital. Calling Vajpayee the pole star of the Indian sky, Shah said the nation lost a tall leader.  

    'With his demise, we lost the pole star of the Indian sky. He was multifaceted. The nation lost a tall leader, BJP lost its first National President, crores of youth lost their inspiration. It is impossible to fill that void,' said Shah in a press conference hours after the AIIMs officially declared the death of Vajpayee. 

    22:37 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Mohan Bhagwat condoles Vajpayee's demise, says he was a universally accepted leader

    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. We join the nation in paying our deepest respects to the departed soul: Dr Mohan Bhagwat

    22:23 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Vajpayee's death: Tripura govt announces 7-day state mourning

    Tripura announces seven-day state mourning starting today on the demise of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The national flag will be flown half-mast during this period. The government has announced holiday tomorrow as a mark of respect to Vajpayee. State mourning will be observed from 16th to 22nd August.

    22:16 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Pakistan PM designate condoles death of Atal Bihari Vajpayee

    Pakistan Prime Minister-designate Imran Khan has also condoled the death of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He said that he was a tall political personality of the subcontinent.

    22:12 (IST)16 Aug 2018

    22:04 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Pakistan, Bangladesh express grief over passing away of Vajpayee

    We have learnt with sadness the passing away of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former Prime Minister of India, who was undergoing treatment in a hospital in New Delhi: Pakistan government

    Bangladesh Pm Sheikh Hasina also condoled the death of former PM. Deeply shocked at sad demise of former PM of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee, one of the most famous sons of India. He'll be remembered for contributing towards good governance & highlighting issues affecting common people of India as well as regional peace& prosperity, she said.

    21:58 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Vajpayee was a patriot to the core for whom national interest was paramount: Sonia Gandhi
    21:46 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Rajnath, Sushma Swaraj among many political leaders at Atal Bihari Vajpayee's residence in Delhi

    Home Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj were among the many politicians who paid tribute to late Atal Bihari Vajpayee at his residence

    21:32 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Politicians make beeline for 'Antim Darshan' at Vajpayee's residence

    The body of the BJP veteran has been kept at his official residence - 6 A Krishna Menon Marg. Shah said people can pay homage to the departed leader at his residence from 7.30 am to 8.30 am tomorrow. The last rites of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will take place at 4 pm tomorrow at Rashtriya Smriti Sthal here, BJP chief Amit Shah said today.

    21:14 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Mumbai CSMT lights off to mourn Atal Bihari Vajpayee's death

    RARE SIGHT: CST lights off, possibly to mourn Atal Bihari Vajpayee's death. (Express Photo by Tanmay Patange)RARE SIGHT:  CST lights off to mourn Atal Bihari Vajpayee's death. (Photo - Tanmay Patange)The lights at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly known as Victoria Terminus Station, in Mumbai, went off to mourn Atal Bihari Vajpayee's death. 

    21:05 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Tamil Nadu declares holiday as a mark of respect for late Atal Bihari Vajpayee

    20:56 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    My admiration for Atajili goes back to early childhood: Fadnavis

    Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today expressed his sentiments over the death of Vajpayee. "Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a tall statesman and an inspiration to millions whose leadership and humanitarian aspects will remain eternally etched in the mind and heart of the people."

    20:48 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb condoles Vajpayee's demise

    Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb condoled the demise of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee this evening and said his death was an irreplaceable loss for the entire nation. In a statement, Deb said, "Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a statesman beyond any comparison who selflessly dedicated his life for the development of our nation. Under his able leadership, BJP grew spectacularly across the country....Vajpayee ji held a special place in his heart for the North-East region".

    All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi issued a statement informing the demise of former Prime Minister Vajpayee who passed away at 05:05 pm today. Chief Minister Deb expressed condolences on his demise before departing for New Delhi to pay his last respect to the late Statesman.

    20:43 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Vajpayee's mortal remains brought to his residence

    Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's mortal remains were brought to his residence today after his demise at AIIMS. State funeral for A B Vajpayee will be held in Delhi's Smriti Sthal, reports PTI. Half day holiday has been announced on the day of the funeral in all central govt offices.

    20:36 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Amit Shah calls Vajpayee's demise an irreparable loss, says BJP will carry forward his vision and ideology

    BJP President Amit Shah on Thursday termed Atal Bihari Vajpayee's demise as an irreparable loss and a great setback for country's politics. He said that the party will carry forward his vision and ideology. "The country has lost a sensitive poet in the field of literature, a sensible journalist. BJP has lost its first national president. Crores of youth have lost an inspiring leader," he said.

    19:56 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad condoles Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s demise

    Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of Opposition, Rajya Sabha expressed his heartfelt condolences on the passing away of former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. "I am deeply saddened by the sad demise of former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee who was a great human being and a true statesman. He never hesitated in giving full credit to his opposition party leaders whenever due. I distinctly remember when he praised then PM Indira Gandhi after the Indo-Pak war of 1971 and referred to her as "Durga". I had occasion of interacting with him over the long period of his Parliamentary career and had very close interaction with him when I was looking after the Parliamentary Affairs portfolio and he was the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha. I have very happy memories of him and his passing away is a great personal loss for me. He will be greatly remembered for his prolific oratory skills, statesmanship, his relationship with leaders of other parties and outstanding contribution towards public service besides many other qualities." said Azad. 

    He expressed his deepest sympathies to his near and dear ones and prayed to almighty to give strength and courage to his family in this sad moment and also prayed that his departed soul may rest in peace.

    19:36 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Former President Pranab Mukherjee expresses grief over Vajpayee's death

    Former President Pranab Mukherjee mourns over the demise of iconic BJP leader. "No doubt that the country will be poorer in the loss of #AtalBihariVajpayee who was like a colossus for almost 6 decades. I pay my deepest regards for this great son of India," he wrote on Twitter.

    19:31 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Anant Goenka, Executive Director of The Indian Express condoles former PM Vajpayee's demise

    Anant Goenka, Executive Director of The Indian Express today expressed grief over the demise of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee. "Few people as respected across the board as Vajpayee," he wrote on Twitter.

    19:24 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    All Delhi govt schools, offices and other institutions to remain closed tomorrow

    Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has announced that all Delhi Government offices, schools and other institutions shall remain closed tomorrow as a mark of respect for Atal Bihari Vajpayee who passed away today.

    19:15 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Central Government announces seven-day state mourning

    Central Government announces seven-day state mourning throughout India. During this period, the national flag will be flown at half-mast throughout India where it is regularly flown. State funeral will also be accorded, reports ANI.

    Union Cabinet decides:

    - State mourning for seven days till 22 August.
    - State funeral for Atal Bihari Vajpayee at Smriti Sthal, New Delhi.
    - Half day holiday in the afternoon of the day of the funeral in all Central government offices and CPSUs across the country, and Delhi government offices in NCT of Delhi.
    - National Flag to fly at half-mast throughout India and Indian missions abroad till 22 August.

    19:09 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Maharashtra CM condoles Vajpayee's death, says he was an inspiring leader

    Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday expressed sorrow over the death of former PM and said: "his vision will always be with us".

    18:58 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    N Chandrasekaran, Chairman Tata Sons expresses condolences over Vajpayee's demise

    N Chandrasekaran, Chairman Tata Sons on Thursday condoled the death of former PM Vajpayee and said he was an iconic leader on the world stage. "The nation has lost a statesman of independent India. An iconic leader on the world stage, Vajpayeeji led India with great wisdom, foresight and love for the country," he said.

    18:52 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Atal Bihari Vajpayee passes away at 93; Twitterati mourn his death

    Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the former prime minister of India, passed away at the age of 93 on August 16. He was admitted at AIIMS, Delhi, for the last nine weeks. The veteran BJP leader was admitted on June 11, after he was diagnosed with kidney tract infection, urinary tract infection and low urine output. Here is how Twitterati mourned his death.

    18:48 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Mortal remains of former PM will be kept at BJP HQ in Delhi tomorrow for last tributes
    18:40 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    When Nawaz Sharif said ‘Vajpayee sahab can now win an election even in Pakistan’

    Atal Bihari Vajpayee initiated the famous Delhi-Lahore bus service to foster better relationships between India and Pakistan. Vajpayee had travelled on the same bus during its inaugural run on February 19, 1999 and was received by Nawaz Sharif, his counterpart in Pakistan. This excerpt from Kingshuk Nag’s book Atal Bihari Vajpayee: A Man for All Seasons, published by Rupa, describes how the former Prime Minister charmed all during his visit. | READ MORE

    18:37 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Atal Bihari Vajpayee dies: Rare and unseen photos of the iconic BJP leader

    The Indian Express brings to you rare and unseen photos of the BJP stalwart who passed away at AIIMS today. He was 93. SEE PICS

    18:29 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    10 defining moments of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s political career

    As the first non-Congress politician to complete five years as prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s premiership was as significant as it was eventful in shaping India’s democracy and putting the country on the road to economic progress. From leading a delegation at United Nations to introducing Lahore bus service to resolving the vexed Kashmir issue with Pakistan, Vajpayee won the hearts of Indians and even the opposition. An orator par excellence, who gave some of the memorable speeches that will remain etched in the annals of Indian parliamentary history, Vajpayee has carved out a niche for himself as one of the shrewdest politicians the country has ever had. READ MORE

    18:25 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Former PM Manmohan Singh condoles Vajpayee's demise

    I have learnt with profound sorrow about the sad demise of Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji. An excellent orator, an impressive poet, an exceptional Public Servant, an outstanding Parliamentarian and a great Prime Minister, Shri Vajpayee ji stood among the tallest leaders of modern India, who spent his whole life serving our great country. His services to our nation will be remembered for a long time to come.

    -Manmohan Singh

    18:20 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Ratan Tata mourns over the loss of Vajpayee, says the former PM was a great leader with a great sense of compassion and humor.

    Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata group, expressed his condolences over the passing away of Vajpayee. He said the former PM was a great leader with a great sense of compassion and humor.

    18:17 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee mourned over the loss of Atal Bihari Vajpayee
    18:12 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    PM Modi expresses grief for former prime minister and BJP veteran Atal Bihari Vajpayee who passed away today at AIIMS at 93
    18:09 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Congress President Rahul Gandhi expresses condolences as former PM Vajpayee passes away
    18:07 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    Home Minister Rajnath Singh expresses pain over demise of former PM
    18:03 (IST)16 Aug 2018
    From our archives, one of Atal Bihari Vajpayee's last interviews as PM, with Ritu Sarin of The Indian Express

    Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. (Express archive photo)

    Atal Bihari Vajpayee, 93, is a diabetic patient and has only one functional kidney. He had also suffered a stroke in 2009 which weakened his cognitive abilities. Subsequently, he developed dementia. Vajpayee had retracted from public life and restricted himself to his home ever since his health deteriorated considerably.

    Atal Bihari Vajpayee was sworn in as the tenth prime minister of India after the 1996 General Elections, but since the NDA could not prove majority in the floor of the house he resigned after 13 days. In 1998, he was again sworn in as the prime minister and held the post till 2004. He was conferred with Bharat Ratna award, India's highest civilian honour, in 2014.

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