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Former Indian prime minister Vajpayee passes away at 93

Former Indian prime minister Vajpayee passes away at 93

Former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a Hindu nationalist who set off a nuclear arms race with rival Pakistan but later crossed the border in a grand diplomatic gesture, has died aged 93. From there it would be taken to the BJP headquarters tomorrow, where people would be able to pay their last respects.

President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, BJP president Amit Shah, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, veteran politician L K Advani, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Army chief General Bipin Rawat, Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa and Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba laid wreaths.

Several foreign dignitaries like King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, former Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai, Pakistan acting law minister Syed Ali Zafar, Nepal foreign minister Pradip Kumar Gyawali were present on the banks of the Yamuna, the BJP patriarch's final resting place.

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences, where Mr Vajpayee had been hospitalised for more than two months with a kidney infection and chest congestion, announced his death.

The Vajpayee-led coalition government had secured 269 votes while the opposition got 270. The ruling dispensation has declared seven days of state mourning. "Despite the best efforts, we have lost him today", AIIMS said in a statement.




Vajpayee was not afraid to take risks.

Vajpayee served as prime minister briefly in 1996 then again from 1998 to 2004.

Describing former prime minister's death as a "huge personal loss", Singh said he was pained beyond words at the demise of Vajpayee, who had cherished the ideal of a developed and powerful India.

Reacting to the sad development which has shocked the country, Sudheendra Kulkarni, Ex-aide to former PM, said he worked with Kulkarni for 6 years, he treated everyone with respect, he further said that Vajpayee had asserted that the Kashmir dispute cannot be solved constitutionally, and only by the boundaries of humanity. "Poet, politician, visionary, he left his mark on India's history". Meanwhile, the British High Commission in Delhi flew its national flag, the Union Jack, at half mast in honour of Vajpayee. "I extend sympathies to the people of India in this hour of grief", he added.

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