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.
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.