Respected as a deft politician, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat enjoyed the enviable reputation of 'Ajatshatru' -- for having friends across the political spectrum in his over five decades-long political career.
The former Vice President, who died in Jaipur at the age of 87, was undoubtedly among the top three leaders of the BJP along with Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani who brought him to the centre-stage as Vice President in August 2002 after the BJP-led NDA gained power at the Centre.
Known as 'Bhairon Baba' among his admirers for his immense political skills, he was thrice Chief Minister of Rajasthan and led the opposition for several years in the desert state.
In the course of his long innings, Shekhawat headed the Jan Sangh in the state and served as national vice-president of the BJP.
"Age is no bar for me", Shekhawat had said when he was Vice President and had climbed the Eiffel Tower at the age of 83.
The remark was significant and gave a clear indication that he would run for the Presidentship of India, the election for which was due in 2007.
When journalists accompanying him to Paris asked him whether he now planned to 'conquer new heights', a euphemism for the Presidential race, Shekhawat had cryptically remarked, "Age is no bar for me."
The remark showed his confidence even though the odds were clearly against him. Shekhawat eventually lost the Presidential race to Pratibha Patil.