Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s political journey: Rare pictures from Express Archiveshttps://indianexpress.com/photos/picture-gallery-others/atal-bihari-vajpayees-rare-photos-from-express-archive/

Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s political journey: Rare pictures from Express Archives

One of India’s most charismatic leaders, Vajpayee is lauded as a statesman and has been often described as the moderate face of BJP.

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Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has been conferred the Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian honour, by President Pranab Mukherjee at the former’s residence in New Delhi. A host of leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior leaders of the BJP were present at the ceremony.

Seen here is Vajpayee signing the register at the Rashtrapati Bhawan after the swearing-in as Prime Minister on March 19, 1998 in New Delhi. (Source: Express archive photo)

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Home Minister Rajnath Singh said it is a matter of immense happiness for the whole country that Vajpayee is being bestowed such a huge honour.

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“His personality, his oratory skill, his honesty and humility signify his greatness. His is a great human being,” he said.

Even in those days, BJP leader Atal Behari Vajpayee was his party's star orator. Seated on his left is Vijay Kumar Malhotra. (Source: Express archive photo)

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Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee escorting Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hassina Wazed for a Luncheon talks at Hyderabad house on June 16, 1998. (Source: Express archive photo by Raaj Dayal)

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Vajpayee, a three-time Prime Minister, was the first non-Congress leader to serve a full five-year term from 1999 to 2004.

Chief Minister of Delhi Shiela Dixit calls on then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in New Delhi on November 21, 2000. (Source: PIB Photo by GP Sharma)

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee first became prime minister in 1996. He was in office for 13 days and was forced to resign after failing to muster support from other parties. He took the post after fresh elections by forming NDA. (Source: Express Archive)

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee being offered sweets by party colleague L K Advani in New Delhi. (Source: Express Archive)

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Vajpayee was born in a middle-class Brahmin family in Gwalior. (Source: Express photo by Neeraj Priyadarshi)

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BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee is honoured with a garland. Gopinath Munde is also seen in the picture. (Source: Express Archive)

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Vijay Kumar Malhotra disscussing with Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the 1st election public meeting at Chittranjan Park on 28-11-84. (Source: Express photo by R K Sharma)

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Vajpayee was India's first non-Congress prime minister to serve a five-year term.

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Vajpayee became a full-time RSS Pracharak in 1947. (Source: Express Archive)

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Vajpayee was arrested between 1975 to 1977 during the Emergency. He later became external affairs minister in 1977 in former PM Moraji Desai's Cabinet. (Source: Express Archive)

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee with the then Minister for External Affairs of Tanzania Edwin Mtei at the 1997 International trade fair . In the middle is the former Tanzanian minister for water energy and minerals Alnoor Kassum. (Source: Express Archive)

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BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee greets Russian Parliamentarian Vladimir Zhirinousky in New Delhi . Also seen in picture: I K Gujral. (Source: Express photo by Arun Jetlie)

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Former foreign minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee talks with an unidentified member of the Kuwait delegation prior to the opening of the Ministerial conference of Non Aligned countries in Belgrade. (Source: Express Archive)

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Former foreign Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee talks with Japanese Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda as he pays a courtesy call at the Premiere's official residence in Tokyo. (Source: Express Archive)

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Former external affairs minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee being received by Chinese foreign Minister Hvany Huo on arrival at Peking. (Source: Express Archive)

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Vajpayee became the first foreign minister to deliver a speech in the UN Assembly in Hindi. (Source: Express Archive)

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1996: Leader of Opposition in Parliament Atal Bihari Vajpayee with BJP spokeswoman Sushma Swaraj at a Press conference in New Delhi. (Source: Express Archive)

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Former Chief Minister NT Rama Rao making a forceful and emotional speech at the all party opposition rally to protest against the UNCONSTITUTIONAL DISMISSAL of his ministry at the PWD grounds in Vijayawada BJP Chief Atal Bihari Vajpayee is seated left. (Source: Express Archive)

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Former Prime Minister I K Gujral with his wife Sheila Gujral and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. (Source: Express archive photo by Mukesh Parpiani on 09.08.1999)

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Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee along with the then visiting Prime Minister of Netherlands Wimkok and Mrs Magrietha Lummechiena Kok-Ronkema at a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi on 22.11.1999. (Source: Express Archive)

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Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee waving to the crowd at Sena Bhavan. (Source: Express archive photo by A Srinivas)

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Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Shiv Sena Leader Bal Thackeray. (Source: Express Archive)

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BJP leader L K Advani and Atal Bihari Vajpayee addressing at Kranti Maidan in Mumbai. Gopinath Munde also seen in the picture. (Source: Express photo by Prakash Yeram)

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BJP leader L K Advani, Kushabhau Thackeray and Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the BJP National convention at Goa. (Source: Express archive photo by Mohan Bane on 04.04.1999)