Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in the national capital on Thursday. PM said, "I have no words, I am filled with emotions right now. I will particularly remember his sharp intellect and outstanding wit".
His death was announced by a New Delhi hospital, where he had been treated for a kidney infection for the past nine weeks, and by the current prime minister, Narendra Modi, who called him "a great son of mother India" and a "leader with no enemies".
"It was Atal Ji's exemplary leadership that set the foundations for a strong, prosperous and inclusive India in the 21st century.
But a year later, Vajpayee rode on the first bus to begin a new service from Delhi to the Pakistani city of Lahore in a rare trip by an Indian premier to mend ties with the neighbor.
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Mallikarjun Kharge, the Congress leader in Lok Sabha, said, "The country has lost a true patriot who took great risks to build peace within the country and with our neighbours once he became the Prime Minister".
Former Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda also expressed grief over Atal Bihari Vajpayee's demise. He was always my idol.
The long political career of Atal Bihari Vajpayee is marked by one unique facet: his mesmerising oratory in Hindi that touched friends and foes alike. My condolences to his family & all his admirers. "We will miss him", Rahul Gandhi, president of the opposition Congress party, tweeted.
Many paid solemn visits to the ailing Vajpayee in his final moments on Thursday, including Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
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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.
Particularly appealing was his speech when his government could not garner a majority in 1996 and fell in 13 days.
According to a notification issued by the Chief Minister's Office, all government offices, schools and colleges across the state will remain closed tomorrow.
Vajpayee boosted trade with the United States, and he helped organize a 2000 visit to Delhi by President Bill Clinton, the first American president to visit India since Jimmy Carter did so in 1978.
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