Atal Bihari Vajpayee passes away at 93: Leaders across parties bid emotional goodbye
Several leaders saw a personal loss in death of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, one of India's most respected leaders who led the nation through several crises and held together a tenuous coalition with his inclusive politics
Leaving boundaries of their respective parties, political leaders today bid an emotional goodbye to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee describing him as a visionary statesman with acceptability across a diverse ideological spectrum.
Vajpayee, who was 93, died at AIIMS this evening after a prolonged illness.
Several leaders saw a personal loss in death of Vajpayee, one of India's most respected leaders who led the nation through several crises and held together a tenuous coalition with his inclusive politics.
Veteran BJP leader L K Advani, who along with Vajpayee was a central figure in the party for much of its existence, described the former prime minister as one of the country's tallest statesmen and his closest friend for over 65 years whom he will miss immensely.
President Ram Nath Kovind said the "gentle giant" will be missed by one and all. Former prime minister Manmohan Singh said Vajpayee was a great patriot and among modern India's tallest leaders who spent his whole life serving the country.
Extremely sad to hear of the passing of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, our former Prime Minister and a true Indian statesman. His leadership, foresight, maturity and eloquence put him in a league of his own. Atalji, the Gentle Giant, will be missed by one and all #PresidentKovind— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) 16 August 2018
Congress President Rahul Gandhi said India has lost "a great son" who was loved and respected by millions.
Today India lost a great son. Former PM, Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji, was loved and respected by millions. My condolences to his family & all his admirers. We will miss him. #AtalBihariVajpayee— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) 16 August 2018
Several of his own party leaders also said Vajpayee was an inspiration to millions, an intense speaker and a true diplomat.
Union Minister Jitendra Singh said even non-BJP supporters would listen to Vajpayee in public rallies just to pick up speaking skills from his oratory.
Singh, Minsiter of State in the Prime Minister's Office, said Vajpayee's demise is a great loss to the nation.
"We grew up listening to him, learning from him,inspired by him. There was no electronic media those days, but many of our college-mates,who did not subscribe to our ideology, would come over to his rallies, just to pick up speaking skills from his oratory," Singh told PTI.
Union Minister Harsh Vardhan said he has lost his "mentor and guide" who had hand-held him into politics.
In the passing away of Shradheya #AtalBihariVajpayee, I lost my mentor and guide, who hand-held me to politics. A visionary statesman, with political sagacity, his acceptability across diverse ideological spectrum endeared him to all. @BJP4India, @BJP4Delhi pic.twitter.com/yKJ9CgZdS2— Dr. Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) 16 August 2018
"A visionary statesman, with political sagacity, his acceptability across diverse ideological spectrum endeared him to all," Vardhan said.
He said Indian scientific community would ever be grateful to Vajpayee who he expanded the 'Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan' slogan to include 'Jai Vigyan' after the Pokhran nuclear test and his courageous decision to go for the second nuclear test was the beginning of an India to reckon with.
Another Union Minister V K Singh said he was deeply saddened by the demise of our beloved leader.
"India has lost one of her most beloved sons, a statesman, and unarguably one of the best PMs to have led the country. Rest In Peace Atal ji, we will miss you," he tweeted.
Deeply saddened by the demise of our beloved leader & former PM Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji. India has lost one of her most beloved sons, a statesman, and unarguably one of the best PMs to have led the country. Rest In Peace Atal ji, we will miss you. https://t.co/09IIJs7vei pic.twitter.com/rJhHr6r8m7— Vijay Kumar Singh (@Gen_VKSingh) 16 August 2018
Congress MP Milind Deora said, "Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a poet and statesman who put country before party. In the spirit of bipartisanship, he worked closely with my late father Murlibhai to strengthen Indo-US ties and liberalise India's insurance sector. My condolences to Gunu didi, Ranjan, his family & supporter."
#AtalBihariVajpayee was a poet & statesman who put country before party. In the spirit of bipartisanship, he worked closely with my late father Murlibhai to strengthen Indo-US ties & liberalise India’s insurance sector. My condolences to Gunu didi, Ranjan, his family & supporters— Milind Deora (@milinddeora) 16 August 2018
Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan said many people are known by the post, but the post of prime minister was very small in front of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
"He was a great politician, intense speaker, a true diplomat, having clarity in thinking, warrior of social justice and a great nationalist," Paswan tweeted.
The entire country is shocked by the demise of former Prime Minister, Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Jee. My heartfelt tribute to the departed soul. pic.twitter.com/J3iJEJIML3— Ram Vilas Paswan (@irvpaswan) 16 August 2018
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis described the death as his personal loss.
Describing him as one of the greatest leaders ever, Fadnavis said his footsteps are followed by many, he is an inspiration to millions, encouraged and taught everyone how to serve the last man with the weapon of democracy.
It is my personal loss..— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) 16 August 2018
One of the greatest leaders ever,Atalji,is no more!
It was Shraddheya Atal ji,whose footsteps are followed by many like me.He is an inspiration to millions & encouraged&taught us how we can serve the last man with the weapon of democracy.
Shat Shat Naman! pic.twitter.com/uJDLS9vObp
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandra Babu Naidu also expressed deep sorrow and condolences on the sad demise.
We have lost one of the greatest visionaries the nation has seen, on this unfortunate day. The beloved former Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji will continue to inspire us and the generations to come. May he rest in peace.— N Chandrababu Naidu (@ncbn) 16 August 2018
Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav also offered his condolences to Vajpayee and said the inspiration will survive even after the end of a great life.
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Odhisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said,"I am deeply grieved by the sad demise of Atalji. India has lost the tallest leader. May his soul rest in peace.".
I am deeply grieved by the sad demise of former PM, Shri #AtalBihariVajpayee. He was one of the tallest leaders of the country. He was much loved by the people of India and more so by the people of #Odisha. May his soul rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/C6oPOzbzUo— Naveen Patnaik (@Naveen_Odisha) 16 August 2018
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, said he can't imagine that Vajpayee is no more.
"He was an inspiration and support. It's an end of an era of Indian politics. He wasn't among those to lose battle. He was a fighter," he said.
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— ShivrajSingh Chouhan (@ChouhanShivraj) 16 August 2018
Also Read: Atal Bihari Vajpayee: A life in pictures
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Atal Bihari Vajpayee's daughter, granddaughter arrive at Smriti Sthal to collect ashes