- PM Modi tweets montage featuring Atal Bihari Vajpayee
- Today is the former PM's 95th birth anniversay
- President Ram Nath Kovind also paid tribute to the former PM
President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with other leaders today paid tribute to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his 95th birth anniversary. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Home Minister Amit Shah were among those who placed flowers as a mark of tribute at Atal Samadhi Sthal in central Delhi this morning.
"The citizens of this country give their tribute to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who is in their hearts, on his birth anniversary," PM Modi tweeted this morning.
देशवासियों के दिलों में बसे पूर्व प्रधानमंत्री भारत रत्न अटल बिहारी वाजपेयी जी को उनकी जन्म-जयंती पर कोटि-कोटि नमन। pic.twitter.com/9tCkmEUxnf— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 25, 2019
The tweet includes a montage featuring the three-time prime minister and speeches by PM Modi praising Mr Vajpayee, who ruled the country for 13 days in 1996, 13 months in 1998 and for five years from 1999. But that year, his government lost a no-confidence motion by one vote. During his speech, he did not once attack Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who had declared to the media, only to regret it for years to come - "We have 272".
The Modi government is working on several public welfare schemes named after the former prime minister. The Union Cabinet has approved the Atal Bhujal Yojana, a Rs 6,000 crore scheme to improve groundwater management. The government will also name a strategic tunnel under Rohtang Pass after him.
Mr Vajpayee was known for his oratory skills, which was on display when he defended the nuclear tests in Pokhran in 1998. "It is surprising that people are criticising the nuclear tests. When in 1974 then prime minister Indira Gandhi had carried out the tests, we welcomed it even while we were in the opposition. Was there any threat to the nation at the time," he said in parliament.
Poetry was his most preferred expression and delivered his message effectively in a few well-chosen words.
Mr Vajpayee was born on December 25, 1924, to Krishna Devi and Krishna Bihari Vajpayee, who was a poet and schoolmaster. He joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the BJP's ideological mentor, in 1939.
In 1942, he and his brother were arrested during the Quit India movement. In 1951, he was asked by RSS to work for the newly former Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the predecessor of the BJP.
He entered the Rajya Sabha as a 37-year-old in 1962 before returning to the Lok Sabha five years later. Over the next four decades, he was re-elected to the Lok Sabha nine times.