Atal Bihari Vajpayee : Great Indian Statesman

Atal Bihari Vajpayee

New Delhi, Aug 16 : Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a master orator used to combine Sarcasm, wit and passion during his speeches that left people spellbound. He inherented impressive oratorical skills form his father. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, aged 93, the former Prime Minister of India, passed away on Thursday, AIIMS doctors announced. The announcement was made immediately after PM Narendra Modi’s visit to the hospital.

BJP stalwart and the three time prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was admitted to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi on June 11 with kidney tract infection, urinary tract infection, low urine output and chest congestion.Besides being a seasoned politician, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was highly popular personality across the political spectrum.

Vajpayee was known for his political acumen and administrative skills; he was also a poet, journalist and litterateur.

He entered into politics during the pre-independence era when he participated in the Quit India Movement in 1942 which led to his arrest and imprisonment.He was also the first external affairs minister to deliver a speech in the UN Assembly in Hindi.It was during his tenure that India successfully conducted nuclear tests at Pokhran in May 1998 and renewed hopes for peace between India and Pakistan emerged with the start of the New Delhi-Lahore bus service.

In fact, his government has been till date the only non-Congress government to stay in power for five years. He is the only parliamentarian who had been elected from four different states at different times, namely, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Delhi.

A true patriot, he was one of the founding members of the erstwhile Bharatiya Jana Sangh.The BJP emerged the single largest party in Lok Sabha in the 1996 general elections. Vajpayee was sworn in as the Prime Minister in May 1996.  His first stint as the Prime Minister of India lasted for just 13 days.
He was again sworn in as the Prime Minister in 1998 after BJP emerged as the single largest party and formed the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) with other political parties. . This time too, his government lasted for just over a year. His third stint as the Prime Minister was his most successful one and he served a full term of five years in this position, when the NDA – a coalition of 23 parties – came to power at the Centre. Vajpayee successfully led the coalition for five years which had a ‘Jumbo Council of Ministers’ with 80 members.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee was born into a middle-class family in Gwalior on 25 December, 1924. His father was Krishna Bihari Vajpayee, a school teacher and poet, and his mother was Krishna Devi.He attended the Saraswati Shishu Mandir and later went to Victoria College from where he graduated with distinction in Hindi, English and Sanskrit.

He enrolled at DAV College, Kanpur to complete his post graduation in Political science.He was a patriot at heart and participated in India’s struggle for freedom even as a student and edited several nationalist Hindi newspapers.

Joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as a worker in 1939, Vajpayee became a pracharak (full-time worker) in 1947. He also worked for Rashtradharma Hindi monthly, Panchjanya Hindi weekly and the dailies Swadesh and Veer Arjun.

He rose to become the national president of the Jana Sangh in 1968. He worked tirelessly with Nanaji Deshmukh, Balraj Madhok and Lal Krishna Advani to make the Jana Sangh a prominent presence in Indian politics.Atal Bihari Vajpayee participated in the Total Revolution movement launched by Jayaprakash Narayan (JP) against the Internal Emergency imposed by then prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1975. In 1977, Jana Sangh became a part of the Janata Party, the grand-alliance against the Indira Gandhi government.

In 1977, the BJS was united with the Bharatiya Lok Dal and the Socialist Party to form the Janata Party. After the victory of the Janata Party in the general elections, Vajpayee became the Minister of External Affairs in Prime Minister Morarji Desai’s government.

The Janata Party was dissolved following Morarji Desai’s resignation as Prime Minister in 1979. Vajpayee, in collaboration with Lal Krishna Advani and Bhairon Singh Shekhawat formed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1980 and became the party’s first president.

After the 1984 elections, when BJP was reduced to two seats, Vajpayee worked tirelessly to build the party and in the next parliamentary elections in 1989 BJP won 88 seats.
By 1991, BJP had emerged as the principal opposition party and the party won 120 seats in 1991 parliamentary elections.

The Kargil War between India and Pakistan took place between May and July 1999. By the end of the war, the Indian Army and Air force had recaptured the areas infiltrated by the Pakistani militants. The Kargil victory cemented the reputation of Vajpayee as a strong and able leader of the nation.

The Narendra Modi Government has announced the conferment of Bharat Ratna on former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. His birthday on 25 December has been declared as ‘Good Governance Day’. Vajpayee had famously advised Modi, the then Gujarat chief minister to adhere to “rajdharma” in the aftermath of the Godhra riots.

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