End Of Vajpayee Era

NEW DELHI, Aug 16:  Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, one of India’s most charismatic leaders who led the nation through several crises while holding together a tenuous coalition with his inclusive politics and superlative oratory, died here today. He was 93.
Vajpayee, a bachelor, is survived by his adopted daughter Namita Kaul Bhattacharya. He will be cremated tomorrow in New Delhi.
“It was Atalji’s exemplary leadership that set the foundations for prosperous and inclusive India in the 21st century,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, leading the nation in mourning the demise of the nationalist stalwart whose popularity cut across party lines.
Vajpayee’s  death was announced by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) hospital where he was admitted on June 11 with a variety of ailments.
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“It is with profound grief that we inform about the sad demise of former Prime Minister of India, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, at 05:05 PM,” the AIIMS said in a statement.
It said his condition was stable for the last nine weeks, but “unfortunately, his condition deteriorated over the last 36 hours and he was put on life support systems.”
As it became clear that the end was near, a host of politicians and well-wishers began gathering at AIIMS since morning. A pall of gloom descended at the BJP headquarters as soon the news of Vajpayee’s demise broke.
A seven-day State mourning was  announced by the Government as a mark of respect to Vajpayee.
Vajpayee, who joined the Rashtriya Swamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1947 rose through ranks to become a stalwart of the BJP and was the first non-Congress Prime Minister to complete a full term in office.
In the evening, Vajpayee’s body was taken to his residence at Krishna Menon Marg in New Delhi where host of leaders cutting across party lines and people from different walks of life paid their last respects.
Seen as a moderate face of BJP, Vajpayee first became Prime Minister in 1996, leading a shaky coalition whose members were suspicious of the BJP’s right-wing politics. It lasted for 13 days and collapsed after losing a vote of no-confidence.
His second stint as Prime Minister was in 1998 when the National Democratic Alliance again came to power but that lasted for just 13 months.
Finally, the NDA with Vajpayee as PM returned to power in 1999 and was voted out in 2004.
A lifelong bachelor, Vajpayee was first elected to Lok Sabha in 1957 from Balrampur in Uttar Pradesh in India’s second general elections. His maiden speech in Parliament so impressed his peers and colleagues that the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru introduced Vajpayee to a visiting foreign dignitary thus: “This young man one day will become the country’s Prime Minister .”
He remained a member of Parliament for 47 years — elected 10 times to the Lok Sabha and twice to Rajya Sabha.
Vajpayee’s signature in politics was achieving pragmatic consensus, and in this process he earned the respect of his party, allies and opponents. Abroad, he projected a harmonious image of India and connected it to the world through his foreign policy outreach
The former Prime Minister  was admitted to the hospital on June 11 with a kidney tract infection, urinary tract infection, low urine output and chest congestion.
Vajpayee, a diabetic, had only one functional kidney. He suffered a stroke in 2009 that weakened his cognitive abilities. Subsequently, he developed dementia.
Vajpayee was born on December 25, 1924 in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh to a schoolteacher, Krishna Bihari Vajpayee, and Krishna Devi. Today, his birthday is celebrated as ‘Good Governance Day’.
After schooling, he graduated from Victoria College in Gwalior, now known as Laxmi Bai College. He did his M.A. in Political Science from DAV College in Kanpur. Following a brief flirtation with communism, he became a full-time worker of RSS in 1947.
In his tribute, BJP president Amit Shah said he was a “rare politician, brilliant speaker, poet and patriot, his demise is not just a irreparable loss for the BJP but also for the entire country.”
Congress president Rahul Gandhi said on Twitter: “Today India lost a great son. Former PM, Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji, was loved and respected by millions. My condolences to his family and all his admirers. We will miss him.”
Manmohan Singh, who succeeded Vajpayee as PM in 2004, hailed the BJP stalwart as a great patriot and among modern India’s tallest leaders who spent his whole life serving the country.
Shah said the last rites of Vajpayee will take place at 4 pm tomorrow at Rashtriya Smriti Sthal here. The body would be taken to the BJP headquarters at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg at around 9 am and the funeral procession would leave the party office at 1 pm.
Meanwhile, the last rites of Vajpayee will take place at 4 pm tomorrow at Rashtriya Smriti Sthal here, BJP chief Amit Shah said today.
The body of the BJP veteran has been kept at his official residence – 6 A Krishna Menon Marg. Shah said people can pay homage to the departed leader at his residence from 7.30 am to 8.30 am tomorrow.
The body would then be taken to the BJP headquarters at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg at around 9 am, he told reporters outside the late leader’s residence.
The funeral procession would leave the BJP headquarters at 1 pm and the last rites would be performed at 4 pm, he said.
A State funeral would be accorded to Vajpayee and a half day holiday would be observed in all Central Government offices tomorrow.
A seven-day State mourning has been announced by the Government as a mark of respect to Vajpayee.
In a circular, the Home Ministry said the National Flag would be flown at half mast from today for seven days across the country.
“As a mark of respect to the departed dignitary, it has been decided that seven days of State mourning will be observed throughout India from August 16-22, both days inclusive.
“During this period, the National Flag will be flown at half mast throughout India where it is regularly flown and there will be no official entertainment during the period of the State mourning,” the Home Ministry said.
The National Flag would also fly half mast on the day of the funeral in all Indian missions abroad.
The Smriti Sthal is a common memorial site that was proposed following concerns over shrinking land resources in the capital.
The last rites would be performed on an elevated platform which is surrounded by greenery.
Smriti Sthal is located between Jawaharlal Nehru’s memorial ‘Shanti Van’ and Lal Bahadur Shastri’s ‘Vijay Ghat’.
Former Prime Minister I.K Gujral was also cremated at the Smriti Sthal on the banks of river Yamuna in December 2012. (PTI)
TIMELINE
Major events in Vajpayee’s political journey
l    1942 – Joins Quit India Movement, jailed during freedom struggle.
l    1951 – Becomes founder-member of erstwhile Jana Sangh, a precursor to Bharatiya Janata Party.
l    1957 – Becomes leader of Jana Sangh; elected to Lok Sabha for first time.
l    1962 – Elected to Rajya Sabha.
l    1968 – President, Bharatiya Jana Sangh (1968-1973).
l    1975 – Placed under house arrest during Emergency.
l    1977 – Becomes founder-member of Janata Party (1977-1980), External Affairs Minister in Janata Party Government.
l    1980 – President, BJP (1980-1986)
l    1984 – Loses Lok Sabha election to Madhavrao Scindia from his home town Gwalior.
l    1992 – Conferred Padma Vibhushan.
l    1996 – Becomes PM, but Government lasts only 13 days.
l    1998 – NDA comes to power again, sworn in as PM for 2nd time. His govt carries out a series of successful nuclear tests at Pokhran and India declares itself a nuclear weapons State.
l    1999 – Bus journey to Pakistan in February 1999 was widely appreciated for starting a new era of negotiations to resolve the long-pending dispute between the two countries.
l    India wins Kargil war, Vajpayee hailed for successful leadership.
l     Resigns after his Government loses a Parliamentary vote of confidence on April 13, 1999.
l    Sworn in as PM for third time on October 13, 1999 after his party and its allies regain control.
l    2001 – Holds Agra Summit with then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf; talks break down.
l    2004 – NDA loses polls.
l    2005 – Announces his retirement from politics.
l    2015- Conferred Bharat Ratna.