Biography of Atal Bihari Vajpayee: President Drupadi Murmu, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Interior Minister Amit Shah, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and other dignitaries paid floral tributes to the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on August 16, 2022 on his fourth death anniversary at Vajpayee’s memorial known as ‘Sadaiv Atal’ in Delhi.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the former Prime Minister of India between 1998 and 2004. He died in 2018 at the age of 93. Vajpayee first took office as Indian Prime Minister in 1996. He served as Prime Minister for a second and third term between 1998 and 2004.
Who was Atal Bihari Vajpayee?
A former veteran Indian politician Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the 10th Prime Minister of India. Vajpayee’s term as Prime Minister included three non-consecutive terms – the first of 15 days (from May 16, 1996 to June 1, 1996), the second of 13 months (from March 19, 1998 to April 26, 1999) and the third for five years (from October 13, 1999 to May 22, 2004). He was the first prime minister since Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru will serve as prime minister for two successive terms.
Vajpayee was a veteran parliamentarian who was elected 9 times to the Lok Sabha and 2 times to the Rajya Sabha. He played a pivotal role in India’s domestic and foreign policy after independence. During his student life, he joined the Quit India movement of 1942. As a political science student, Vajpayee developed an interest in foreign affairs which was reflected in his skills while representing India in various bilateral and multilateral forums.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was born on December 25, 1924 into a Brahmin Hindu family of Krishna Devi and Krishna Bihari Vajpayee (mother and father respectively). Vajpayee’s father was a teacher. Vajpayee completed his studies at Saraswati Shishu Mandir in Gwalior. In 1934, he joined the Anglo-Vernacular Middle (AVM) school in Barnagar, Ujjain district. Later, he attended Victoria College (now Maharani Laxmi Bai Govt. College of Excellence) in Gwalior to pursue studies in Hindi, English and Sanskrit. He completed his tertiary education with an MA in Political Science from DAV College, Kanpur.
Place of birth
Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s birthplace was Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was born on December 25, 1924 and died on August 16, 2018. At the time of his death, he was 93 years old.
Career and political party
As a student, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was part of the Quit India movement of 1942. Later, he joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1939 as a volunteer. By 1942 he had become an active member of the RSS. Vajpayee and his older brother were also arrested for 24 days during the Quit India movement. In 1951, Vajpayee was chosen by the RSS to work for the new right-wing Hindu political party Bharatiya Jana Sangh. He was appointed national secretary of the party.
In the 1957 Indian general election, Vajpayee contested the Lok Sabha elections. Of note, then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was very impressed with Vajpayee’s oratorical skills. In 1968, Vajpayee became the national president of Bharatiya Jana Sangh after the death of Deendayal Upadhyaya.
In the 1977 general election, a coalition of parties including the Bharatiya Jana Sangh formed the Janata Party which won the general election. Vajpayee was then Minister of External Affairs. As Foreign Minister, Vajpayee was also the first person from India to deliver a speech in 1977 to the United Nations General Assembly in Hindi. In 1980, the Bharatiya Jana Sangh came together to form the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with Vajpayee as its first chairman.
Terms as Prime Minister of India
First term: May 1996
Second term: 1998 to 1999
Third term: 1999 to 2004
Awards and Honors
Atal Bihari Vajpayee received national honours:
- Bharat Ratna (2015)
- Padma Vibhushan (1992)
In 2009, Vajpayee suffered a stroke which impaired his speech abilities. In June 2018, Vajpayee was admitted to AIIMS after reporting a kidney infection. On August 16, 2018, Vajpayee passed away.
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