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Vajpayee nursed BJP into a banyan tree in Indian politics: Amit Shah pays tribute

Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the first non-Congress leader to serve a full term in power and who ordered nuclear tests to make India a nuclear weapons power, died on Thursday.

india Updated: Aug 16, 2018 22:35 IST
Atal Bihari Vajpayee,Vajpayee death,Amit Shah
Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee 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.(AFP/File Photo)

BJP chief Amit Shah on Thursday paid heartfelt tributes to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, saying he nursed the party from its inception to make it a banyan tree and left an indelible mark in Indian politics.

The party would work to fulfil the mission he has left behind, Shah told reporters following Vajpayee’s death at AIIMS hospital in New Delhi after a long spell of illness.

“Atal ji emerged as a popular national leader who believed that power is a means of service and led a spotless political life without compromising on national interest. And that’s why the people across political and social boundaries showered him with love and respect,” Shah said in tweet.

Describing the former prime minister as one of the most-popular Indian leader, Shah said Vajpayee, as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s founding president, nursed a banyan tree in the country’s politics with his tenacity and tireless work.

“A rare politician, brilliant speaker, poet and patriot, his demise is not just an irreparable loss for the BJP but also for the entire country,” the BJP chief said, adding that his thoughts, poems, foresight and political skills would always inspire and guide all.

“On the one hand Atal ji as the head of a party in opposition played the role of an ideal opposition while on the other hand he provided the country a decisive leadership as Prime Minister,” Shah said. Vajpayee left an indelible mark in Indian politics with his ideas and principles, Shah added, while praying for the peace of his soul.

Shah said Vajpayee was not only the most popular orator of the 20th century but also of the 21st century. He was among a few leaders who was heard in silence — from public meetings to Lok Sabha, the BJP president said.

The country has lost a leader who had no enemy, literature has lost a poet, journalism a fine journalist, the BJP its first president, youths their inspiration, Shah said, adding that such a void would be impossible to fill.

Vajpayee rose above partisan divides to speak for national interest, he said and recalled the BJP stalwart’s stand on 1971 Bangladesh war and his speech in the UN to articulate India’s stand on Kashmir.

First Published: Aug 16, 2018 22:32 IST