Former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee passes away
Atal Bihari Vajpayee, three-time Prime Minister of India and one of the country's most respected politicians, passed away on Thursday afternoon.
The announcement was made by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences or AIIMS, where the 93-year-old was being treated for nine weeks. The BJP leader was suffering from multiple ailments and was admitted to AIIMS in June. He was put on life support system by the doctors after his condition became critical.
Vajpayee was the first and the only non-Congress Prime Minister to serve a full five-year term from 1999 to 2004; and for short periods of 13 days in 1996 and 13 months in 1998. He was first elected to Parliament in 1962 as a member of Rajya Sabha. In 1971, he won his first Lok Sabha seat. He was elected to the Lok Sabha seven times and twice to the Rajya Sabha. He was the first External Affairs Minister to deliver a speech in the UN Assembly in Hindi.
Apart from being a politician with great oratory skills, Vajpayee was also an acclaimed writer who wrote several poems. He was awarded India's highest civilian honor Bharat Ratna in 2015 on his birthday. His birthday, December 25, was also declared as the Good Governance Day by Narendra Modi government. However since 2009, the veteran politician had largely been confined to his home on Krishna Menon Marg in the heart of Delhi, away from public life due to his failing health.