Former PM and Veteran BJP Leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee Passes Away

Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

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New Delhi: Former Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee, passed away at the age of 93 at 5:05 pm on Thursday following prolonged illness, officials at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) announced.

The three-time Prime Minister was brought to the hospital on June 11 for complications in his kidney and chest.

Mr. Vajpayee's health had been on decline since 2009 forcing him to remain confined in his home on Krishna Menon Marge in New Delhi.

Nearly the entire who's who of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) including Mr. Vajpayee's Deputy and colleague L K Advani; and prominent leaders from other parties including Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal – U President Nitish Kumar had arrived at the AIIMS to pay their homage to the man who captured the nation with his statesmanship, oratory skill, aplomb, decency, and a great sense of humor.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who visited the hospital twice in the last 24 hours wrote on his Twitter page: " India grieves the demise of our beloved Atal Ji. His passing away marks the end of an era. He lived for the nation and served it assiduously for decades. My thoughts are with his family, BJP Karyakartas and millions of admirers in this hour of sadness. Om Shanti."

In another Tweet, Modi wrote: "It was due to the perseverance and struggles of Atal Ji that the BJP was built brick by brick. He travelled across the length and breadth of India to spread the BJP's message, which led to the BJP becoming a strong force in our national polity and in several states."

Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal called Mr. Vajpayee's passing away 'a great loss for India'.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi had also arrived at the AIIMS shortly before Mr. Vajpayee's death was announced.

He was the Prime Minister of India for a short 13 days in 1996 when he had to resign after failing to muster support for his new government. He again was elected PM in 1998 but his government lasted only 13 months when the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader Jayalalithaa withdrew her support to the NDA government. Finally, Mr. Vajpayee became the PM for the third time in 1999 when the BJP-led NDA won 303 seats out of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha.

His reign came to an end in 2004 when the NDA lost big in the Lok Sabha elections paving the way for Congress-led UPA to form the government with Manmohan Singh as Vajpayee's successor.


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