Published: Sat, August 18, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Atal Bihari Vajpayee: Former Indian prime minister dies after illness aged 93

Atal Bihari Vajpayee: Former Indian prime minister dies after illness aged 93

The former prime minister was admitted to the facility in June with a urinary tract infection, a lower respiratory tract infection and kidney-related ailments but the hospital had said days later that he was recovering.

The body of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has been taken to his residence in the national capital where people can pay their last respects, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said.

Then, a few years later, it was Mr Vajpayee who made the first moves toward peace.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has worked under Vajpayee's leadership in the BJP, called Vajpayee a "father figure" and said he had learnt the "vital facets" of shaasan (administration) and sangathan (organisation) from him. He added that Vajpayee was loved and respected by millions.

Vajpayee, a former journalist and poet-turned-politician, was credited with helping lay the foundations for the meteoric rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the right-wing political powerhouse that rules India today. My condolences to his family & all his admirers.

"Vajpayee was a renowned statesman who contributed to bringing a change in India-Pakistan relations and remained a key supporter of SAARC and regional cooperation for development", the Foreign Office said in a statement. "We will miss him", Rahul Gandhi, president of the opposition Congress party, tweeted.

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Vajpayee suffered a stroke in 2009 and retreated from public view. Another English Daily, Express Tribune talked that India's three-time Prime Minister Vajpayee was one of the leaders to express anguish over the deaths of hundreds of Muslims in 2002.

He gave the go-ahead for underground nuclear tests in 1998 believing nuclear weapons would be a deterrent against China and Pakistan.

"As foreign minister, Vajpayee strived to open up ways towards normalisation of relations among neighbouring states and had successfully taken this agenda to new heights after assuming the office of prime minister", the statement read.

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