- Speechless, overcome by emotions, tweets PM Modi
- He had visited Mr Vajpayee yesterday, twice today
- Mr Vajpayee, three-time Prime Minister, died in Delhi at 93
Prime Minister Narendra Modi - whose government conferred Bharat Ratna on Atal Bihari Vajpayee and declared his birthday, December 25, as "Good Governance Day" -- mourned the passing of the BJP patriarch today in a series of deeply emotional tweets.
The three-time Prime Minister, who had been hospitalised since June 11, died a little after 5 pm.
Calling it the "end of an era", PM Modi said the "exemplary leadership" of Atal Bihari Vajpayee had "set the foundations for a strong, prosperous and inclusive India in the 21st century". The "futuristic policies" of the three-time Prime Minister had "touched the lives of each and every citizen of India".
India grieves the demise of our beloved Atal Ji.- Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 16, 2018
His passing away marks the end of an era. He lived for the nation and served it assiduously for decades. My thoughts are with his family, BJP Karyakartas and millions of admirers in this hour of sadness. Om Shanti.
It was Atal Ji's exemplary leadership that set the foundations for a strong, prosperous and inclusive India in the 21st century. His futuristic policies across various sectors touched the lives of each and every citizen of India.- Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 16, 2018
His initial tweet, a deeply emotional one in Hindi, read, "I'm speechless, I feel a great void, yet am overcome by emotions".
Mr Vajpayee's passing, he said in another tweet, was a "personal and irreplaceable loss" him. "I have countless fond memories with him. He was an inspiration to Karyakartas like me. I will particularly remember his sharp intellect and outstanding wit," read another tweet by the Prime Minister, who had visited the 93-year-old leader five times since his admission in Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences on June 11.
Last evening, the Prime Minister visited Mr Vajpayee and stayed for 50 minutes after the hospital announced that he had to be put on life support systems after his condition turned critical. This afternoon, he returned again, minutes after Amit Shah rushed back after his morning visit.
Mr Vajpayee, who ruled the country for 13 days in 1996, 13 months in 1998 and for five years from 1999, had retired from public life over the last few years due to his failing health. But the friends and well-wishers he won over his 47-year career in parliament streamed into AIIMS for over 24 hours to wish him a speedy recovery - a reflection of his politics and personality.