Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s mortal remains to be cremated at Smriti Sthal at 4 pm today

Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s mortal remains to be cremated at Smriti Sthal at 4 pm today:
Atalji was a true ‘Ajatshatru’ who had many friends across the political spectrum. He believed in political consensus and his beliefs had consequential effect on Indian politics.”“In Atalji’s demise the nation has lost a stalwart who was known for statesmanship and astute leadership. It is also a huge personal loss to me. I am one of those millions of Indians who drew inspiration from Atalji’s life and contribution.“I cannot fully imagine my own life without following the footprints that Atalji set. May his soul rest in peace.
Former Prime Minister of India Atal Biharai Vajpayee, who died on Thursday was not just known as one of India’s top politicians but also a poet par excellence.
 After a 9-week long struggle, India’s former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away at AIIMS in New Delhi today. The 93-year old political icon was suffering from kidney tract infection, urinary tract infection and even respiratory problems.
 In 2009, he suffered a stroke leading to loss of speech and subsequently causing dementia. Vajpayee was a monumental figure in both BJP and India’s political landscape. He was the first non-Congress Prime Minister to complete his five-year term.
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was born on December 25, 1924 to a schoolmaster from Gwalior. In 2014, the NDA government declared his birthday would be observed as the Good Governance Day.
 Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a statesman and pragmatist, orator and poet, a man of peace and conviction. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a towering nationalist who softened the often sharp edge of his party’s politics with sophisticated inclusiveness, earning him the sobriquet “ajaat shatru” or the man with no enemies.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the first prime minister from a non-Congress party to complete a full term in office, began shakily – his first stint as prime minister in 1996 lasted only 13 days when his unlikely coalition government failed to get support from other parties. The BJP-led coalition government came back to power in 1998, and this time Atal Bihari Vajpayee stayed in office for 13 months before losing a no-confidence motion by one vote.
 The National Democratic Alliance returned to power in October 1999 with Atal Bihari Vajpayee as prime minister once again. This time Atal Bihari Vajpayee lasted the entire term, capping a glorious career that saw him go from student activist to journalist, Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh pracharak, Member of Parliament, foreign minister, opposition leader and finally a much-loved leader of the nation.
Like many of his generation, Atal Bihari Vajpayee – who died today at age 93 – came into politics as an 18-year-old during the Independence movement in 1942 when the Quit India movement was going on.
A lifelong bachelor, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was first elected to Lok Sabha in 1957 from Balrampur in Uttar Pradesh in India’s second general elections. His maiden speech in Parliament so impressed his peers and colleagues that the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru introduced Vajpayee to a visiting foreign dignitary thus: “This young man one day will become the country’s prime minister.”
Atal Bihari Vajpayee remained a member of Parliament for 47 years – elected 10 times to the Lok Sabha and twice to Rajya Sabha.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s signature in politics was achieving pragmatic consensus, and in this process he earned the respect of his party, allies and opponents. Abroad, Atal Bihari Vajpayee projected a harmonious image of India and connected it to the world through his foreign policy outreach.
 Fluent in English, Atal Bihari Vajpayee oratory was at its best in Hindi. With his well-timed wit, and carefully-chosen words delivered with trademark long pauses, Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s oratory was at its best in Hindi. Atal Bihari Vajpayee immediately connected with all those who came in contact with him — the common man, politicians, bureaucrats, students and world leaders.
As foreign minister under the Janata Party government headed by Morarji Desai in 1977, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the first leader to deliver a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in Hindi.
 Atal Bihari Vajpayee was awarded India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna, in March 2015.
While Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s six years in office were defined by several crises – including the hijacking of an Indian Airlines jetliner to Kandahar, Afghanistan in 1999, an attack on the Parliament building in 2001, communal riots in Gujarat in 2002 – Atal Bihari Vajpayee also left a mark with peace initiatives and infrastructural projects. Chief among them is the Golden Quadrilateral Highway network, connecting India’s four major metropolises with 5,846 kilometers of roads.
During his second term as prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee ordered nuclear tests in May 1998 in a strategic masterstroke to blunt Pakistan’s nuclear ambitions while at the same time announcing a moratorium on future testing. Atal Bihari Vajpayee followed this up with peace overtures to Pakistan, riding on the first direct bus from India to Pakistan in February 1999.
Undeterred by party hawks, Atal Bihari Vajpayee arrived in Lahore on the bus, accompanied among others by legendary actor Dev Anand. Atal Bihari Vajpayee met with then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in what was hailed as the dawn of a new era in India-Pakistan relations.
The then army chief General Pervez Musharraf did not turn up to greet Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the Wagah border. It soon became clear why.Only months later, in June 1999, Pakistan began hostilities in Kargil that took the two countries to the brink of a full-scale war. Atal Bihari Vajpayee felt betrayed and never hid his bitterness whenever Kargil was mentioned. He tried again to build peace with Pakistan — which people close to him say was the mission of his life — by holding a historic summit in Agra with Musharraf in 2001, who by then had become the president. But the summit too failed spectacularly.Another historic event that he expressed anguish about was the post-Godhra communal riots in Gujarat in 2002 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief minister.Unwilling to hide his feelings over the riots, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said the government must follow “raj dharma”. In his autobiography, former President Pranab Mukherjee wrote that the Gujarat riots were “possibly the biggest blot” on Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government that could have cost the Bharatiya Janata Party the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.
After the NDA was routed in the elections, Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced his retirement from politics in 2005 and slipped into relative political oblivion. He was rarely seen in public after suffering a stroke in 2009, and subsequently developed dementia. However, Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s influence loomed large over the party, which often quoted him and his policies.
In his Independence Day speech yesterday, PM Modi said he wants to resolve the Kashmir issue through Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s doctrine of “Insaniyat, Kashmiriyat, Jamhooriyat”, which seeks to preserve the composite Kashmiri culture while ensuring democracy in a humane manner.
When he assumed office for the second time in 1999 as the head of a more stable coalition, Atal Bihari Vajpayee had to abandon some of the cornerstones of BJP’s policies to get the backing of more secular groups. This included the BJP’s demands for scrapping the special status for Jammu and Kashmir, building a Hindu temple on the site of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya and abolishing the separate civil code for Muslims.
The demolition of Babri Masjid by kar sewaks in December 1992, when he was the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, was an acid test for Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s secular agenda and his stand within the party. Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s trusted lieutenant LK Advani and most BJP politicians supported the demolition but Atal Bihari Vajpayee condemned the attack unequivocally.
At times he tried to appeal to Muslims and other minority groups, and was seen as a reassuring figure for India’s mainly secular establishment.
His personal integrity was never seriously questioned but arms bribery scandals exposed corruption in his government and at times cast doubts on his judgment.
A romantic at heart, Atal Bihari Vajpayee wrote poetry in his spare time, and was a connoisseur of good food.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was born on December 25, 1924 in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh to a schoolteacher, Krishna Bihari Vajpayee, and Krishna Devi. Today, Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s birthday is celebrated as ‘Good Governance Day’.
 After schooling, Atal Bihari Vajpayee graduated from Victoria College in Gwalior, now known as Laxmi Bai College. Atal Bihari Vajpayee did his M.A. in political science from DAV College in Kanpur. Following a brief flirtation with communism, Atal Bihari Vajpayee became a full-time worker of RSS in 1947.
 Atal Bihari Vajpayee subsequently entered journalism and was editor of Rashtradharma, a Hindi monthly, the Panchjanya Hindi weekly and the dailies, Swadesh and Veer Arjun.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee became a close follower of Syama Prasad Mookerjee, the founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the precursor to Jana Sangh and later the BJP. Under Mookerjee’s tutelage, Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s right-wing philosophy shaped.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee accompanied Mookerjee to Kashmir in early 1950s during the BJS leader’s fast-unto-death to protest the identity card requirement for Indian citizens visiting the state. It was Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s first insight into the Kashmir problem, which decades later he addressed in 2003 with the “Insaniyat, Kashmiriyat, Jamhooriyat” doctrine.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s impressive collection of poetry had several fans, which included the likes of Harivansh Rai Bachchan (per his son Amitabh Bachchan) and Shah Rukh Khan. Celebrities such as Rajinikanth, Mr Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra among others condoled the death of the “great statesman” and “visionary” today while Shah Rukh Khan paid tribute to the “poet,” who influenced his life during his formative years.” However, it was video attached to SRK’s tweet, which was pure gold. The 53-year-old actor shared the link of a poem written by Mr Vajpayee, which was adapted onscreen several years ago.
 The poem titled Kya Khoya Kya Paya Jag Mein was rendered by Jagjit Singh and the introduction of the video was narrated by Amitabh Bachchan (and written by Javed Akhtar). The music video featured Shah Rukh Khan and it was directed by late filmmaker Yash Chopra.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee is survived by his adopted daughter, Namita Kaul Bhattacharya.
His Political Journey.
Vajpayee served as India’s prime minister three times: for 13 days in 1996, 11 months in 1998 to 1999 and then from 1999 to 2004.
He also served decades in parliament, and was a foreign minister from 1977 to 1980.
He believed that India should enshrine Hindu culture, but he opposed discrimination against other religions.
 Vajpayee was one of the few BJP leaders to express anguish when hundreds of Muslims were killed in 2002 during religious riots in the western state of Gujarat, governed at the time by India’s current Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He called the 1992 destruction of a 16th-century mosque on a disputed site by Hindu fanatics India’s darkest hour.
 The BJP government run by Vajpayee acknowledged that Muslims felt especially Disenfranchised and advocated for integrating them more into the mainstream.
 A published poet, he was viewed more as a philosopher and less as a hard-nosed politician.
Vajpayee’s often conciliatory tone was popular on both sides of the political spectrum.He also became the first non-Congress leader since India’s independence in 1947 to complete an entire term in office as head of a BJP-led ruling alliance between March 1998 and May 2004.
He was ousted in 2004 elections by the Congress Party led by Sonia Gandhi, which selected Manmohan Singh as prime minister.
He retired from politics in 2005, four years before suffering a stroke that made him retreat from public view.
Condolences poured in from across country ;
Gentle giant, says Kovind.Extremely sad to hear of the passing of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, our former Prime Minister and a true Indian statesman. His leadership, foresight, maturity and eloquence put him in a league of his own. Atalji, the Gentle Giant, will be missed by one and all, said President Ram Nath Kovind.
Lost my closest friend: Advani.”I am at a loss of words to express my deep grief and sadness today as we all mourn the passing away of one of India’s tallest statesmen, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. To me, Atalji was more than a senior colleague- in fact he was my closest friend for over 65 years,” said L.K. Advani.”As my senior, he always encouraged and guided me in every possible manner.”His captivating leadership qualities, mesmerising oratory, soaring patriotism and above all, his sterling humane qualities like compassion, humility and his remarkable ability to win over adversories despite ideological differences have all had a profound effect on me in all my years in public life,” Mr. Advani said.
PM Modi says ‘India grieves the demise of our Atalji’“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,” tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi.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.”“Atal Ji’s passing away is a personal and irreplaceable loss for me. 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.”It was due to the perseverance and struggles of Atal Ji that the BJP was built brick by brick. He travelled across the length and breadth of India to spread the BJP’s message, which led to the BJP becoming a strong force in our national polity and in several states.
Vajpayee will be remembered for remarkable leadership: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu condoled the demise of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, saying he will be remembered for his remarkable leadership and devotion to duty.“I visited him this morning but didn’t imagine that the end will come so soon. He is, undoubtedly, one of the tallest leaders in post- independence India,” he said in his condolence message.Mr. Naidu said Vajpayee’s contribution to strengthen democracy and good governance has been stupendous. He successfully ran a coalition of 23 parties with his rare persuasive charm and competence, he recalled.“He will be remembered for ushering in the connectivity revolution in the country. His personality, oratory, devotion to duty and friendliness all combined in his remarkable leadership will be remembered for a along time to come,” he said.
Vajpayee nursed BJP into a banyan tree in Indian politics: Shah.BJP chief Amit Shah paid heartfelt tributes to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, saying he nursed the party to make it a banyan tree and left an indelible mark in Indian politics.“Atalji emerged as a popular national leader who believed that power is a means of service and led a spotless political life without compromising on national interest. And that’s why the people across political and social boundaries showered him with love and respect,” Mr. Shah tweeted.A rare politician, brilliant speaker, poet and patriot, his demise is not just a irreparable loss for the BJP but also for the entire country,” the BJP chief said, adding that his thoughts, poems, foresight and political skills would always inspire and guide all.“On the one hand Atalji as the head of a party in opposition played the role of an ideal opposition while on the other hand he provided the country a decisive leadership as Prime Minister,” Mr.Shah said.
Pained beyond words,’ says Rajnath Singh“Pained beyond words at the demise of Shri Atalji. He had cherished the ideal of a developed and powerful India in which all persons lived together in unity, peace and harmony,” said Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Twitter.
Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda mourned the death of Vajpayee, saying a vacuum has been created in the country’s politics with his passing away, as several state leaders joined him in expressing grief. In his condolence message, Mr. Gowda said in the death of Vajpayee, the country has lost a statesman and politician who believed in the country’s diverse culture.“He was a true parliamentarian. With his death, a vacuum has been created in polity and end of an era of politics in this country. He was a great orator who refused to attack his opponent personally. He did not allow the House to be disturbed during my tenure as the Prime Minister for the 11 months,” Mr.Gowda said.
A reasoned critique, seeker of consensus,’ Pranab praises Vajpayee”Deeply saddened at the passing away of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee,” said former President Pranab Mukherjee. “A reasoned critique in opposition and a seeker of consensus as PM, Atal Ji was a democrat to the core. In his passing away, India has lost a great son and an era has come to an end. My deepest condolences,” he added.
 Congress condoles;
“Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a great leader, loved by many & revered by all. We grieve his demise & our thoughts & prayers are with his family today,” tweeted Congress.
 “Today India lost a great son. Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji, was loved and respected by millions. My condolences to his family & all his admirers. We will miss him,” said Congress President Rahul Gandhi.
 “An excellent orator, an impressive poet, an exceptional Public Servant, an outstanding Parliamentarian and a great PM, Shri Vajpayee ji stood among the tallest leaders of modern India,  who spent his whole life serving our great country,” former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said.
Former Finance Minister P.Chidambaram said the nation has lost a dignified political leader. “While we know Vajpayee had a lot of friends, what we don’t know is he had no enemies,” Mr.Chidambaram tweeted in Tamil.
‘Such a person is rarely born’Opposition leader Sharad Yadav, who had served in the Vajpayee Cabinet, described the former Prime Minister as a statesman and one of the greatest leaders India has produced.“He was a great human being, poet, leader and above all a statesman,” Mr. Yadav said in a statement.He recalled that Vajpayee was one of the four MPs who had won on the ticket of Bharatiya Jana Sangh in 1957 and then President S. Radhakrishnan was surprised to hear the party’s name as “he had not heard of it.It showed that he was a very popular leader with whose name the party became known to Parliament,” Mr. Yadav said.
TN leaders express grief over Vajpayee’s death:
Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit and Chief Minister K Palaniswami expressed grief over the death of former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee.In a statement, Mr. Purohit said Vajpayee was an outstanding statesman, a great orator and role model for politicians and poets and his death “fills me with great shock and grief.”“A great son of Mother India is no more. But his service to the people of India as the Prime Minister of the nation, memories of his speeches in Parliament and outside, and his qualities of tolerance and magnanimity will live on forever,” the governor said.
Highlighting his administrative skills, Mr. Palaniswami said Vajpayee, the first prime minister from BJP, had slogged his entire life.
DMK working president M K Stalin said, Despite ideological differences, the late ‘Kalaignar’ M Karunanidhi shared cordial relationship with Vajpayee.“By taking part in a protest by Tamil Eelam Supporters Organisation, organised in Madurai, for the rights of Tamils in Sri Lanka, Vajpayee made TN proud…it is a big loss to the country,” he said.
AMMK, DMDK, MDMK, Tamil Maanila Congress also expressed grief over the death.
The former finance and home minister said the BJP patriarch would be remembered for many things but above all for his genuine efforts to resolve the decades-long hostility between Pakistan and India.“Vajpayee ji was a man of great wisdom, tolerance and compassion. He led his party to its first victory in national elections and established the credentials of the BJP to run the central government,” he said.
Chief Ministers pay tribute;
A great loss, says Kejriwal.Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal condoled the demise of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today, saying his death was “a great loss” for the country.Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia had visited the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, where Vajpayee was admitted since June 11,earlier today.“Am deeply saddened. A great loss for India,” Kejriwal tweeted.The chief minister, who turned 50 today, had appealed to his party’s volunteers and well wishers to avoid celebrating his birthday.
Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy described Vajpayee as being among a “rare breed” of politicians who lived according to the values they believed in.“His death has created a vacuum in the political circle of the country,” he said
“Deeply pained by the passing away of our beloved Atal ji. India has lost a great leader, a leader of masses and a visionary who dedicated his entire life in service of the nation and its people,” said Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.
His words were our strength, his blessings were our energy, said Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan.  Mr. Chauahan also said Mr. Vajpayee dedicated his life to serve the the nation.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, in his condolence message, said the nation has lost an important political figure who was also an orator, poet, writer, and intellectual.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaikexpressed deep grief over demise of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and described him as one of the “tallest leaders” of the country. “I am deeply grieved over demise of Vajpayeeji. India has lost one of its tallest leaders. He was loved by the people of India and of course the people of Odisha as well. May his soul rest in peace,” Mr. Patnaik said.
Assam Governor Jagadish Mukhi and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal mourned the death of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The nation has lost an eminent statesman who had earned the unique distinction of being the first non-Congress prime minister, the Governor said in a statement.The sagacity and leadership of the former Prime Minister at both the national and international levels has been a source of inspiration and guidance”, he said. Mr. Sonowal described Vajpayee as a statesman, ideologue, icon and one of independent India’s greatest leaders. “Vajpayeeji’s resolute leadership transformed India and gave us wings to dream and achieve,” Mr.Sonowal tweeted.
Kerala mourned along with the rest of the nation the death of former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee. Governor P Sathasivam said the nation has lost one of the most beloved and respected leaders whose charisma stood above political considerations. “With the loftiest ideals of statecraft, the noblest sense of diplomacy and a masterfully poetic oratory, he was a perfect synthesis of sage-like wisdom and modernism. May his soul rest in peace.” Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan described Vajpayee as a great parliamentarian, orator and a diplomat who ably presented India’s rights in international platforms. As one of the founding leaders of BJP, he had exhibited skills to take along various groups while leading the coalition government, Mr. Vijayan added.
 A great statesman, says Mamata Banerjee.”Very very saddened  that the great statesman and former PM Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji is no more with us. His passing away is a very big loss to our nation. I will always  cherish the many fond memories. Condolences to his family and his many admirers,” said West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.Ms. Banerjee was Mr. Vajpayee’s cabinet colleague. She was planning to visit Delhi today to enquire about the former prime minister.
Sports fraternity mourns Vajpayee’s demise:
India’s sporting fraternity,led by Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, joined the nation in mourning the demise of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.“#AtalBihariVajpayee ji – A leader par excellence, a daring PM who made Pokhran possible, a highly principled politician & a poet of inspirational grit who was admired across party lines. His demise is an irreparable loss, and marks the end of an era. ? ????? ?????,” Rathore wrote on his twitter handle.
Batting great Tendulkar wrote,“India is at a great loss today. Shri #AtalBihariVajpayee ji’s contributions to our nation have been innumerable. Thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones.”
“Asaman ko choo gaya, jo asmaan sa vishal tha, dharti mein simat gaya, jo mitti jaisa narm tha. Kaun hai jo Atal reh paya zindagi bhar, Atal banke wo zindagi ko paa gaya. Om Shanti #AtalBihariVajpayee ji,” cricketer Virender Sehwag said on the social networking site.
Olympic medallist boxer Vijender Singhsaid, “One of the Greatest PM this Country has ever seen.A visionary, A poet, A statesman, A man who won over million hearts. Man who deserves nothing but respect.Bharat Ratna #AtalBihariVajpayee is no more with us.His contribution for the motherland will inspire generations to come.”
Five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand said, “India loses one of its great leaders. Gentle Giant thats a wonderful way to remember him and his work. My deepest condolences . #ripvajpayee.”
Cricketer Anil Kumble wrote, “A sad day for the country, as we lose one of our greatest leaders. #AtalBihariVajpayee contributed so much for the betterment of the country. May his soul rest in peace.”
VVS Laxman said, “One of India’s Most Loved Prime Minister, a great poet and a wonderful statesman. We as a nation will miss you sir #AtalBihariVaajpayee ji. Deepest condolences to admirers and loved ones.”
Opener Shikhar Dhawan wrote, “My deepest condolences on the passing of our former Prime Minister Sri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ji. One of the few politicians I always respected for his honesty and devotion to the national cause. May his soul rest in peace.”
The BCCI too expressed grief over the passing away of the iconic leader.
 The Indian Cricket Team and BCCI condoles the sad demise of former India Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Atalji dedicated his life in service of the nation,” the Indian Cricket Board tweeted.
Fast bowler Ishant Sharma said, “Saddened to hear the demise of a Great statesman & Glorious leader, Shri Vajpayeeji. He inspired us all with his exemplary conduct… My Heartfelt tribute to the departed soul #AtalBihariVaajpayee.”
Batsman Rohit Sharma wrote, “Not turning out to be a great week for India, as we lost another great leader RIP Shri #AtalBihariVaajpayee.”
party democracy: Left
Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was often described as the moderate face of the BJP, was a true believer in a multi-party democracy, Left parties said.Left leaders, who were otherwise strong critics of the former prime minister’s ideology, said Vajpayee always kept open the lines of consultation when he was in government and reached out to opposition parties before taking important decisions.
 Became Lok Sabha speaker due to Vajpayee: JoshiSenior Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi credited former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for becoming the Lok Sabha Speaker when the BJP-led government was in power at the Centre.Mr. Joshi, a former Lok Sabha MP from Mumbai, said he could occupy the prestigious post only due to him.
India Inc pays rich tribute to “reformer” Vajpayee.India Inc paid a glowing tribute to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, describing the former prime minister as a “great economic reformer” under whose visionary leadership the country made rapid strides in economic growth.
 “All of us who knew Vajpayee are saddened to hear of his passing away. He was a great leader with a great sense of compassion and humour. He will be remembered fondly by a vast number of us,” said Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Trusts.
 “The nation has lost a statesman of independent India. An iconic leader on the world stage, Vajpayee led India with great wisdom, foresight and love for the country,” said N Chandrasekaran, Chairman Tata Sons.
“A great economic reformer, as a Prime Minister he was always guided by a strong conviction that liberalisation would help us realize our economic potential and ultimately open the doors to becoming a globally competitive, strong and resilient economy,” Bharti Enterprises Founder and Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said.
Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra also recalled his meetings with the late former prime minister.“RIP Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The leadership lesson that I learned from my interactions with him was that no matter how significant your achievements while in office, you ultimately earn the affection of people through your humanity and your humility.,” he said in a tweet.
Ficci president Rashesh Shah said the former prime minister was one of the most dynamic leaders who ushered in an era of reforms, progress and took the country forward.
“Our nation has lost one of our great political leaders who steered our country as Prime Minister to great heights. A man of great vision and charisma,” Biocon Chairperson and MD Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw tweeted.
“He (Vajpayee) put the nation on fast track with initiatives like Golden Quadrilateral project, the New Telecom Policy, the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and the Fiscal Responsibility Act that laid down the path for future governments to follow,” Dr Prathap Reddy, Founder & Chairman, Apollo Hospitals said.
Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adanisaid Vajpayee will inspire the generations to come.Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) Chairman Naveen Jindal said He was a great leader and excellent statesman who was loved and admired all.
Vajpayee believed in multithe support of the then Prime Minister Vajpayee.“I thought it was impossible to become the Lok Sabha Speaker. I never thought about it. But the BJP, especially Vajpayee’s stand, helped me he said.
 Some of his poets
The instinctive turn of phrase. The nuance. The humour. Throwing back the tuft of hair.
Meet Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Arguably India’s finest orator of recent times. The PM who talked the walk. Here are his five defining speeches.
 1.At the BJP’s first national executive meeting, in 1980. “This is the first national executive meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and I have been unanimously chosen as the president of this executive. May God give me the strength and courage to shoulder this responsibility. The position of the president of the BJP is not an ornament, it is not a position, but a responsibility. It is not an honour, but a test. It is not glory, but challenge.”
2.On Secularism: “During the Battle of Plassey, more than those who were fighting were those standing as mute spectators. The fate of the country was to be decided, but the whole country was not involved in that decision. I had gone to Afghanistan as minister of foreign affairs, and you would be surprised to know that when I told them that I wanted to visit Ghazni, they were taken aback.
3.Facing No-Confidence Motion in Parliament: “In victory, we have humility, in defeat, you must introspect. There is a churn that is on, the direction of thinking is changing. If the criminal can be the same (for all) why can’t the personal law be too.”
4.On VD Savarkar: “Savarkar means brightness, sacrifice, penance, substance and logic. Savarkar means the arrow and the sword.”
5.On Kar Seva in Ayodhya: “The Supreme Court has given us the right to do karseva. If we do karseva tomorrow, we shall not be stepping on any Supreme Court judgment. We shall rather be respecting the SC verdict. We cannot sit on sharp stones that will come up. No one can. So the earth will have to be levelled.”
Statesman who contributed to bringing a change in India-Pakistan relations, says Islamabad.Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee dies in New Delhi on Thursday, after a prolonged illness.Leaders cutting across political parties and industrial organisations paid rich tribute to the departed soul he tweeted.
“Such people are rarely born,” he said.“In his passing away, I have not only lost my beloved person but the country has lost a great patriot, parliamentarian, statesman and a veteran leader, who was very popular for his non-partisan politics,” he said.
Statement from spokesperson of the Pakistan Foreign Ministry:“We have learnt with sadness the passing away of Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former Prime Minister of India, who was undergoing treatment in a hospital in New Delhi.“Mr.Vajpayee was a renowned statesman who contributed to bringing a change in India-Pakistan relations and remained a key supporter of SAARC and regional cooperation for development.“The Government and people of Pakistan extend their heartfelt condolences to his family and to the Government and people of India.”
‘Great friend, highly respected in Bangladesh’In a condolence message sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina says:”We are deeply shocked at the sad demise of the former Prime Minister of India Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, one of the most famous sons of India. He will be remembered for contributing towards good governance and for highlighting issues affecting the common people of India as well as for regional peace and prosperity.“His tireless work for the welfare of the people of India will inspire future generations of leaders. An excellent orator and a poet Shri Vajpayee took significant strides towards acceleration of inclusive economic growth in India.“Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee was our great friend and highly respected in Bangladesh. As a token of recognition for his invaluable contribution to our Liberation War in 1971, Bangladesh Government conferred on him the Bangladesh Liberation War Honour. Today is certainly a day of great sadness for all of us in Bangladesh“On behalf of the Government and the people of Bangladesh and on my own behalf, I express our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the Government and the mourning people of India, and to the members of the bereaved family.“We pray for the eternal peace of his soul.”she tweeted.
 ‘A true friend of Russia’Russia Ambassador Nikolay Kudashev’s message:“We mourn the death of H.E. Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a great statesman. His name became an integral part of a whole era in Indian politics. His devoted service to the nation can hardly be overestimated. Mr Vajpayee enjoyed due respect in India and globally.“We knew him also as a poet, a man of knowledge and a true friend of our country, where he is well-known as one of the architects of our long-lasting and time-tested privileged strategic partnership.”Vajpayee’s death has left a vacuum in Indian polity he tweeted.
 His body was kept at his official residence at Krishna Menon Marg last night where a stream of leaders visited to pay their homage. Hundreds gathered outside his residence to pay their tributes to the three-time prime minister this morning. His body was then taken to the BJP headquarters. The funeral processionwill begin at 1 pm from the party headquarters. Last rites of Mr Vajpayee would be performed at 4 pm at  the Smriti Sthal memorial site in the heart of the city.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi among many other top leaders paid their tributes to the leader who was admired and respected across the political spectrum. Terming Mr Vajpeyee’s death as “end of an era”, PM Modi had said that it was like losing a father. A seven-day state mourning was announced by the central government as a mark of respect to former prime minister.