Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee, poet and politician, dies at 93


Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away at AIIMS in Delhi at 5.05pm on Thursday. He was 93. In a medical bulletin, the hospital said his condition deteriorated over the last 36 hours and he was put on life support systems. “Despite the best of efforts, we lost him today.” The Bharatiya Janata Party stalwart was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi on June 11 with a kidney tract infection, urinary tract infection, low urine output and chest congestion.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, party veteran LK Advani, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Venkaiah Naidu, several union ministers and CMs and even former Pakistan President Pervez Musharaff mourned his death and several of them are at his residence to pay last respects.

Vajpayee’s mortal remains have been taken to his residence and hundreds of well wishers have gathered there. The mortal remains will be taken to the BJP headquarters at 9am on Friday and the samadhi will be done at Vijay Ghat, near Rajghat, at 4pm. The government also announced seven-day state mourning as a mark of respect for the former prime minister. In a circular, the home ministry also said national flag would be flown at half mast from today for seven days across India and a state funeral would be accorded to Vajpayee. Several state governments have also announced a holiday in schools, colleges and government offices Friday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Atal Bihari Vajpayee was like a “father figure” to him and his death has a created a “void” that can’t be healed.

“We have lost our inspiration. We have lost an Atal Ratna. The personality of Atal ji and the sadness due to his demise can’t be described in words,” said Modi in televised speech mourning the former prime minister.

Modi called Vajpayee a “wonderful orator” and a “prolific writer

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