Farewell, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. PM Modi Among Thousands At Funeral

Hannah Rogers
August 17, 2018

Vajpayee's death was announced by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) hospital where he was admitted June 11 with a variety of ailments.

He surprised many today by joining the procession from the BJP office to the Smriti Sthal, which is located close to the memorials of former prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri. NDTV delivers reliable information across all platforms: TV, Internet and Mobile. The New York Times said Vajpayee "stunned the world by ending a decades-old moratorium on nuclear weapons tests, but nevertheless managed to ease tensions with Pakistan and build closer ties to the United States".

Atal Bihari Vajpayee with missile man Abdul Kalam.

A poet-politician, Vajpayee was one of the most popular leaders of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

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One of seven children of a schoolteacher in central India, Vajpayee joined India's Hindu revivalist political movement in his late 20s.

"It was Atal Ji's exemplary leadership that set the foundations for a strong, prosperous and inclusive India in the 21st century", Modi said in a tweet. In 2009, he had suffered a stroke, which weakened his cognitive abilities.

Seen as a moderate face of BJP, Vajpayee's first became Prime Minister in 1996, leading a shaky coalition whose members were suspicious of the BJP's right-wing politics. Following his death, many people chanted "Atal Bihari Amar Rahe" as Vajpayee's cortege made its way to the city to reach BJP headquarters, where innumerable leaders gathered to pay tribute to him.

Vajpayee was born on December 25, 1924 in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh to a schoolteacher, Krishna Bihari Vajpayee, and Krishna Devi. That changed within a month of Vajpayee returning to the prime minister's post in 1998, when he approved a series of nuclear weapons tests that shocked the world and pushed Islamabad to launch its own tests. According to a notification, which was issued just after his demise. Among those who visited the BJP stalwart at the hospital on Thursday were Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, BJP chief Amit Shah, Home Minister Raj Nath Singh, senior BJP leader LK Advani, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Union Ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Uma Bharti, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah. My condolences to his family and all his admirers.

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