The former Prime Minister, whose birthday on December 25 is celebrated as Good Governance Day, was honoured with the Bharat Ratna in 2014 at his home. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, one of the most charismatic leaders, is no more.
But unlike Modi, who critics say is a polarising figure despite his pledge of inclusive development for India's 1.3 billion people, Vajpayee was the moderate face of Hindu nationalism, admired by some political foes.
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee health continues to be critical, as per the latest updates from AIIMS.
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"Deeply saddened at the passing away of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee". His condition worsened further on Wednesday evening with leaders from across the political spectrum thronging the hospital and enquiring about his health.
Vajpayee first became PM of India for only 16 days - May 16-31, 1996. He had been admitted to the AIIMS, Delhi on June 11 with multiple infections and chest congestion. My condolences to his family & all his admirers. However, the warmth and bonhomie of this was shortlived as just three months later in May, the Pakistani Army led by its then chief Pervez Musharraf, orchestrated an attack on India in Kargil sector without the knowledge of Sharif to sabotage India-Pakistan relations. I have countless fond memories with him. "We will miss him", Rahul Gandhi, president of the opposition Congress party, tweeted. "He was a spell-binding orator, a leader of great vision, a patriot to the core for whom the national interest was paramount", she said. Funeral will be held at 4 pm at Smriti Sthal, informed BJP President Amit Shah.
Former Union Minister P Chidambaram remembered Vajpayee as a man of great wisdom, tolerance and compassion. It was widely reported that he suffered a stroke in 2009, which largely confined him to his New Delhi residence.
He gave the go-ahead for underground nuclear tests in 1998 believing nuclear weapons would be a deterrent against China and Pakistan.