RIP Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Indian politician who thrice served as the Prime Minister of India, first for a term of 13 days in 1996, for a period of eleven months from 1998 to 1999, and then for a full term from 1999 to 2004, passed away today. He was 93 years old. Apart from politician with great oratory skills, Vajpayee was also an acclaimed writer who wrote several poems.

He was a member of the Indian Parliament for over four decades, being elected to the Lok Sabha, the lower house, ten times, and twice to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house. He served as the Member of Parliament for Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh until 2009 when he retired from active politics due to health concerns. Vajpayee was among the founding members of the erstwhile Bharatiya Jana Sangh which he also headed from 1968 to 1972. He was the Minister of External Affairs in the cabinet of Prime Minister Morarji Desai.

When the Janata government collapsed, Vajpayee restructured the Jana Sangh into the Bharatiya Janata Party in 1980. He was the first Indian prime minister who was not a member of the Indian National Congress party to have served a full five-year term in office. He was conferred India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, by the President of India in 2015. Vajpayee remained unmarried. He adopted Namita Bhattacharya, the daughter of BN Kaul and Rajkumari Kaul.

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