President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated a portrait of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his second death anniversary on Sunday at the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and described him as a "widely accepted" leader.
Speaking at the virtual inauguration, Ram Nath Kovind underlined that India's stature grew under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
He was a strong advocate of peace and always worked for better relations with neighbouring nations. He handled all difficult situations with calmness, the president said.
With his conduct, Atal Bihari Vajpayee taught all political parties and people active in public life that the national interest is always paramount. Therefore he was a "widely accepted" leader who had admirers across the political spectrum, Ram Nath Kovind said.
Noting that the whole world is in peril due to COVID-19, he exuded confidence that after recovering from this pandemic "we will move rapidly on the path of progress and prosperity and will be successful in realising Atalji's dream of making the 21st century India's century", according to an official statement.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee served as the ex-officio president of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) from March 1977 to August 1979 when he was the Union foreign minister.
Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan, and BJP Rajya Sabha MP and incumbent ICCR president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe also took part in the inauguration of Vajpayee's portrait.
Earlier this morning, Ram Nath Kovind visited Atal Bihari Vajpayee's memorial Sadaiv Atal to pay homage to him, the statement said.