Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee dead at 93

Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee died at the age of 93 in the national capital. He breathed his last at 5.05 pm at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

“It is with profound grief that we inform about the sad demise of Former Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee at 05:05pm on 16.08.2018. Vajpayee was admitted in AIIMS on 11.06.2018 and was stable in the last 9 weeks under the care of a team of AIIMS doctors,” read the statement released by AIIMS.

It further read, “Unfortunately, his condition deteriorated over the last 36 hours and he was put on life support systems. Despite the best of efforts, we have lost him today. We join the Nation in deeply mourning this great loss.”

The hospital had released a medical bulletin late Wednesday evening, saying that the medical condition of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stalwart had deteriorated in the last 24 hours, and was placed on life support system.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other Union Ministers, including Smriti Irani, Jitendra Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Harsh Vardhan, Suresh Prabhu, Piyush Goyal and Ashwani Chaubey had visited the leader at AIIMS on Wednesday evening. The visits by political leaders from across party lines continued on Thursday, with Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, among others, reaching AIIMS in the national capital.

Vajpayee was admitted to AIIMS on June 11 following complaints of chest congestion, kidney infection, urinary tract infection and other associated conditions. The former prime minister died after prolonged illness since 2009, when he had suffered a stroke.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee served as Prime Minister of India for three terms that began in 1996, 1998 and 1999. He was the first non-Congress, non-Gandhi Prime Minister to complete a five-year term.

Vajpayee remained a bachelor for life and was among the founding members of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

He was awarded India’s highest civilian honour Bharat Ratna on his birthday – December  25, 2014, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government. The then President, Pranab Mukherjee, conferred the award to Vajpayee at his residence on March 27, 2015.

Born in Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior on December 25, 1924, in a middle-class Brahmin family, Vajpayee’s father Krishna Bihari Vajpayee was a poet and a school teacher and his mother Krishna Devi a housewife. He went to Saraswati Shishu Mandir, Gwalior and later graduated from Victoria College (now Laxmi Bai College), Gwalior with distinction in Hindi, English and Sanskrit. He went on to complete his post-graduation in Political Science from Dayanand Anglo-Vedic College, Kanpur.

He took part in the freedom struggle and was impressed by Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee, who founded the Bharatiya Jana Sangh. Vajpayee was made the north India in-charge of the party as a secretary.

Vajpayee won his first Lok Sabha elections as a Bharatiya Jana Sangh candidate in 1957 from Balrampur in Uttar Pradesh. He won Lok Sabha elections in 1967, 71, 77 and 80. He lost the 1984 Lok Sabha elections but won five consecutive terms from 1989 to 2004. He also took part in the massive people’s movement spearheaded by Jayaprakash Narayan against the then government of Indira Gandhi. He was also jailed during the Emergency.

 

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