Former Indian PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee passes away

NEW DELHI, Aug 16, 2018 – (PTI) : Former Indian Prime Minister and senior BJP politician Atal Bihari Vajpayee has passed away at the age of 93 in New Delhi on Thursday.

A statement from the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi said, “It is with profound grief that we inform about the sad demise of Former Prime Minister of India, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee at 05: 05 pm on 19.08.2018.”

The 10th Prime Minister of India had been suffering from kidney-related ailments and was admitted to the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi from June 11.

According to a health bulletin released by the hospital on Wednesday, the nonagenarian’s condition was critical.

“Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has been admitted for the last 9 weeks at AIIMS. Unfortunately, his condition has worsened over the past 24 hours. His condition is critical and he is on life support system,” read a statement from Dr Aarti Vij, Chairperson of the Media and Protocol Division of the hospital.

Over the past couple of days, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Foreign Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, Textiles Minister Smriti Irani, Congress President Rahul Gandhi and other senior parliamentarians and leaders have visited the ailing leader.

The senior BJP leader was the first non-Congress Prime Minister of India to serve a full term. He served as PM for one brief term of 13 days in 1996 and the full five years between 1998 and 2004.

The veteran politician had been largely out of political life since 2009 when he suffered a major stroke.

Born on December 25, 1924, to parents Krishna Devi and Krishna Bihari Vajpayee, Vajpayee did his schooling at the Saraswati Shishu Mandir. Vajpayee read Hindi, English and Sanskrit at the Victoria College in Gwalior and later graduated with an MA in Political Science from DAV College, Kanpur.

Vajpayee, along with his brother Prem, was part of the Quit India movement in August 1942 during the Indian independence struggle.

In his youth, Vajpayee had also edited several pro-nationalist Hindi newspapers like Panchjanya, Rashtra Dharma, Dainik Swadesh and Vir Arjun.

Motivated by Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, he later joined him as founding member of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh. He had served the president of the Sangh from 1968 to 1973.

Following the collapse of the Janata Party government led by Morarji Desai, it was Vajpayee who revamped the Jan Sangh as the Bharatiya Janata Party in 1980.

He was awarded India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 2014.

BJP’s National Executive meet which was scheduled for August 18 and 19 has been postponed.

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