Vajpayee to be accorded state funeral; 7-day mourning declared

Frederick Owens
August 17, 2018

"Despite the best of efforts, we have lost him today".

His condition had worsened on Wednesday. His ascent to the premiership signaled the renewal of the party, which had grown to become the main opposition to the Indian National Congress before eventually overtaking that party.

Vajpayee never married but had a longtime companion who died in 2014 and whose daughter he adopted.

Hearing him speak, India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru is believed to have told a visiting foreign dignitary of the young MP's enormous promise, saying that he could be Prime Minister one day.

"Shri Vajpayee Ji stood among the tallest leaders of modern India, who spent his whole life serving our great country".

The long political career of Atal Bihari Vajpayee is marked by one unique facet: his mesmerising oratory in Hindi that touched friends and foes alike.

The claim appeared ironical against the backdrop of Modi's Independence Day address the day before, where he suggested that India began its climb to greatness in the past four years after six decades of darkness.

"Madam, I was hurt very much", the then-prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, told a reporter in June 1998.

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Friday will be a half-day holiday at all central government and central public-sector unit offices, while many state governments have declared a full holiday, among them BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh.

"Delhi is the capital of India which is the largest democracy in the world".

The evocative and charming poet in Vajpayee even inspired Bollywood. Economic sanctions imposed after the country's first atomic test were finally lifted in 2000 when Bill Clinton visited the country, the first US President to do so in 22 years.

Vajpayee, 93, was the oldest living former Indian prime minister.

Kargil war India won the Kargil war in 1999 and Vajpayee was hailed for his successful handling of the situation.

Particularly appealing was his speech when his government could not garner a majority in 1996 and fell in 13 days.

But unlike Modi, who critics say is a polarising figure despite his pledge of inclusive development for India's 1.3 billion people, Vajpayee was the moderate face of Hindu nationalism, admired by some political foes.

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