End of an era: Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee dies at 93

WION Web Team
Delhi, India Published: Aug 16, 2018, 05:39 PM(IST)

File photo of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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Vajpayee was admitted to the hospital on June 11 with a kidney tract infection, chest congestion and urine output on the lower side.

Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee breathed his last today at Delhi's All India Institute Of Medical Science. He was 93.

According to the official statement released by AIIMS, Vajpayee passed away at 5.05pm on Thursday, August 16.

"It is with profound grief that we inform about the sad demise of Former Prime Minister of India, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee at 5.05pm on August 16," the statement noted. 

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"Shri Vajpayee was admitted in AIIMS on June 11 and was stable in the last 9 weeks under the care of a team of AIIMS doctors. Unfortunately, his condition deteriorated over the last 36 hours and he was put on life support systems. Despite the best efforts, we have lost him today. We join the nation in deeply mourning the great loss," AIIMS stated in the release. 

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Vajpayee was admitted to the hospital on June 11 with a kidney tract infection, chest congestion and urine output on the lower side.

Vajpayee, a diabetic, had one functional kidney and had suffered a stroke in 2009 that weakened his cognitive abilities. Subsequently, he developed dementia and was bed-ridden ever since. 

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Born on 25 December 1924 in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, Vajpayee started out as a Communist before joining the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in the year 1939. 

Vajpayee, along with Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay joined Syama Prasad Mukherjee's Bharatiya Jana Sangh. 

In a political career that spanned over six decades, Vajpayee closely witnessed and participated in the freedom struggle and even went to jail during the Quit India Movement in 1942.

Vajpayee was one of the founding members of Bhartiya Jana Sangha and even headed it. After the collapse of Morarji Desai's Janata Government, he played a pivotal role in reviving Jana Sangh as Bhartiya Janata Party in 1980. 

A parliamentarian for over four decades, Vajpayee served as the External Affairs Minister in Morarji Desai's government. He was elected to the Lok Sabha ten times and twice to the Rajya Sabha. 

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Recipient of the prestigious Bharat Ratna and Padma Vibhushan, Vajpayee was thrice elected as Prime Minister between 1996 and 1999 and was the only non-Congress PM to complete a full term of five years, from 1999 to 2004. 

Under his leadership, the BJP-led NDA alliance achieved many milestones for the country. Vajpayee, as a Prime Minister, was lauded for initiating peace-talks with Pakistan by inviting Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf to India in 2001.

Under Vajpayee's tenure, India successfully conducted underground nuclear tests in Pokhran in 1998 -- a mammoth milestone in India's nuclear prowess. 

India's victory in Kargil War cemented his reputation as a strong and able leader. 

Atal Bihari Vajpayee will always be remembered for encouraging economic and private research and for giving a fillip to privatisation when it was severely criticised.

National projects and schemes like the National Highway Development Project, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan were some of the notable government initiatives taken under his rule. 

As his health deteriorated, Vajpayee slowly withdrew himself from public life. He resigned as Prime Minister in 2004 and announced retirement from the political arena in the year 2005.

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