PM Narendra Modi says Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s death a ‘personal loss’

Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the first non-Congress leader to serve a full term in power, died on Thursday at the AIIMS hospital in New Delhi on Thursday.

india Updated: Aug 16, 2018 18:33 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Atal Bihari Vajpayee,PM Modi,Atal Bihari Vajpayee death
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Ahmedabad, November 2004. (PTI File Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi mourned the death of veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Thursday as a personal and irreplaceable loss as he paid rich tribute to his exemplary leadership and futuristic policies.

Vajpayee, the first non-Congress leader to serve a full term in power, died on Thursday at the All India Institute of Medical Science where he had been undergoing treatment for a kidney ailment since June. He was 93.

“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,” Modi said in a series of tweets.

“It was Atal Ji’s exemplary leadership that set the foundations for a strong, prosperous and inclusive India in the 21st century. His futuristic policies across various sectors touched the lives of each and every citizen of India,” he said.

Read: ‘The uncompromising patriot’: Shakti Sinha on working closely with Vajpayee

The Prime Minister said Vajpayee’s “perseverance and struggles” helped in forming the saffron party “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,” he added.

“Atal Ji’s passing away is a personal and irreplaceable loss for me. I have countless fond memories with him. He was an inspiration to Karyakartas like me. I will particularly remember his sharp intellect and outstanding wit.”

Watch: Remembering Atal Bihari Vajpayee: Poet, politician and statesman

Vajpayee, one of the founder members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), served as prime minister for 13 days in 1996, 13 months (1998-99) at the head of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government and then for a full five-year term (1999-2004).

Renowned for his powerful oratory and poetry, he had announced his retirement from electoral politics in 2005 and withdrew further from public life in 2009 after suffering a stroke that weakened his cognitive abilities. Subsequently, he developed dementia.

Read: Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s complex relationship with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh

First Published: Aug 16, 2018 18:09 IST