New Delhi, August 16: In what was a major loss to the nation, former three time prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away on this day last year. His death was preceded by prolonged illness, which kept him away from public life for several years. At the age of 93, he breathed his last. The nation still continues to remember his oratory, his poetic prowess and nearly 60 years of his active involvement in Indian politics.
Tracing The Political Journey of Vajpayee:
Vajpayee was sworn-in as the 10th prime minister of India in 1996, when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as the single largest party in 1996 general elections. He failed to prove majority in the Parliament and had to resign after 13 days. In 1998, Vajpayee became the prime minister again. Atal Bihari Vajpayee Dies at 93: Bharat Ratna And Former Indian Prime Minister Breathes His Last at Delhi's AIIMS Hospital
This time the BJP lead government lasted for 13 months. In the general election held in 1999, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance secured 303 seats paving the way for Vajpayee to become prime minister for the third time.
Vajpayee became the first non Congress Prime Minister to have completed the full five year term as India's Prime Minister.
Formative Years in Politics
The former prime minister had also participated in Indian freedom struggle. He was first arrested in 1942 during ‘Quit India Movement’. Vajpayee also worked with Deendayal Upadhyaya to form the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, a Hindu right-wing political party associated with the Rashtriya Sawamsewak Sangh (RSS).
From 1975 to 1977, Vajpayee was arrested along with several other opposition leaders during the Internal Emergency imposed by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
The former prime minister was responsible for the formation of Janata Party against the Congress in 1977. He also served as the Minister of External Affairs in Prime Minister Morarji Desai's cabinet.
Vajpayee was the first person to deliver a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in Hindi. The three-time former PM along with L.K Advani and Bhairon Singh Shekhawat formed the BJP in 1980.
Vajpayee was one of the tallest political leaders in post-independent India. An excellent orator, a statesman, a poet and most importantly, a leader of the masses, Atal ji, as he was known lovingly called by his supporters, will also be remembered for his fiery speeches both inside and outside the parliament.
Vajpayee was not only an effective leader when in power, but also a force to reckon when he was in Opposition for close to 40 years. He was also someone who could cut across the political spectrum, and was respected by leaders across the party lines.