Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former prime minister and BJP stalwart, passed away on Thursday. He was 93. Vajpayee was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in June. Vajpayee, who had been ailing for long, retreated from active public life over the last decade following the deterioration of his health and remained restricted to his residence. A host of leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the BJP patriarch at AIIMS.
The 93-year-old Bharatiya Janata Party leader breathed his last at 5:05PM, after being on life support systems for over two days, said a notification from AIIMS. He was admitted at the premier AIIMS on June 11 with a kidney tract infection, urinary tract infection, low urine output and chest congestion.
People from all walks of life prayed for his health, while special prayers were held in his ‘karam bhoomi’ Lucknow after the news spread that the veteran leader’s health has deteriorated. Vajpayee, a diabetic, has only one functional kidney. He had suffered a stroke in 2009 that weakened his cognitive abilities. Subsequently, he developed dementia.
The formal prime minister was born on December 25, 1924, in a middle-class Brahmin family of Shri Krishna Bihari Vajpayee and Smt. Krishna Devi at Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh. He did his schooling at the Saraswati Gwalior’s Shishu Mandir and graduation in Hindi, Sanskrit & English from the Victoria (now Laxmi Bai) College. He completed MA (Political Science) from the DAV College in UP’s Kanpur.
Vajpayee was India’s Prime Minister from May 16-31 in 1996; from 1998 to 1999 for a period of 13 months, and a full five-year term from October 13, 1999 to May 13, 2004. In December 2005, he retired from politics. Vajpayee was conferred with Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award, by President Pranab Mukherjee in 2015.