Atal Bihari Vajpayee was an Indian Politician who served the country as prime minister for three times. First for a short term of 13 days in 1996, second for the period of 11 months from 1998 to 1999 and then for the full term of 1999 to 2004.
He was born December 25, 1924, in Gwalior. He passed away at the age of 93 in August 2018.
As a teenager, Vajpayee was jailed briefly for opposing British colonial rule. He flirted with communism before choosing to support the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Jan Sangh.
Vajpayee was among the founding members of the erstwhile Bhartiya Jan Sangh which he also headed from 1968 to 1972. He also served the country as the Minister of External Affairs in the cabinet of prime minister Morarji Desai.
He becomes the first prime minister who was not a member of National Congress party to serve a full five-year term for the country.
Vajpayee did his very first start of schooling from the Saraswati Shishu Mandir, Gwalior.
Atal Ji subsequently attended Gwalior’s Victoria College (now Laxmi Bai College) and graduated with distinction in Hindi, English, and Sanskrit.
He completed his post-graduation with M.A. in political science from DAV College, Kanpur and also receive the first class degree.
Vajpayee also joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh(RSS) as a swayamsevak in 1939.
Vajpayee dropped out of law school to run an RSS magazine in the early 1950s.
Vajpayee never married and remained a bachelor his entire life.
He started his political career as a freedom-fighter during the Quit India movement of 1942-1945. He started out as a communist but shed that for a membership in the RSS.
Vajpayee became a close follower and aide to Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, the founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS), the BJP’s predecessor.
Taking the baton from Mookerjee, Vajpayee won his first election to Parliament in 1957.
Vajpayee served the Lok Sabha, the lower house of parliament, for 10 terms that began in 1957 and concluded in 2009 after he retires from politics due to health concerns.
Vajpayee first becomes the prime minister in 1996 after four decades in opposition but he lasted for only 13 days due to lack of numbers in the party.
For the second time from 1998 to 1999, he served the country for 13 months but still cannot complete the five-year term due to lack of stability in the party.
Riding high on the Kargil success Vajpayee was re-elected in 1999 at the head of the more stable coalition.
In India General Elections India, 2004 BJP won 74.93% votes under Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Key milestones in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s political journey:
1942 – Joined the Quit India Movement, jailed during the freedom struggle
1951 – Founder-member of the erstwhile Jana Sangh
1957 – Becomes the leader of the Jana Sangh, 1957 – Elected to Lok Sabha
1962 – Elected to Rajya Sabha
1968 – President, Bharatiya Jana Sangh (1968-1973)
1975 – Placed under house arrest during Emergency
1977 – Founder-member of the Janata Party (1977-1980)
1977 – Became the first non-Congress External Affairs Minister
1979 – Makes memorable speech in Hindi at the UN
1980 – President, BJP (1980-1986)
1984 – Loses Lok Sabha election from his hometown Gwalior
1992 – Conferred Padma Vibhushan
1994 Conferred the Lokmanya Tilak Puruskar and Pt. Govind Ballabh Pant Award for the Best Parliamentarian
1996 – Became PM, but his government lasts only 13 days
1998 – NDA comes to power, sworn in as PM for the 2nd time
-His govt carries out a series of successful nuclear tests at Pokhran in May 1998.
1999 – The bus journey to Pakistan in February 1999 was widely acclaimed for starting a new era of negotiations to solve the outstanding problems of the subcontinent.
– India wins the Kargil war, Vajpayee hailed for his successful handling of the situation in repulsing back the intruders from the Indian soil.
– Resigns after his government loses a parliamentary vote of confidence on April 13, 1999
– Sworn in again as PM for the third time on October 13, 1999, after his party and allies take control.
2001 – Talks at the Agra Summit with Musharaf break down
2002 – Calls first-ever joint session of Parliament, pushes through POTA
2004 – Concedes the election after his party loses in parliamentary elections
2005 – Announces his retirement from politics
March 27, 2015 – Conferred the Bharat Ratna award
Controversies related to Atal Bihari Vajpayee
- 2002 Gujarat violence
In 2002, Hindu-Muslim violence in the state Gujarat killed more than 1,000 people. Vajpayee officially condemned the violence.
Later, Vajpayee made controversial remarks: “Wherever there are Muslims in large numbers, they do not want to live in peace.
Vajpayee was accused of doing nothing to stop the violence, and later admitted mistakes in handling the events.
He also wanted to sack Modi from the post of Chief Minister of Gujarat. But budged to pressure from the Advani and RSS camp.
- He was involved in the Babri demolition planning.
- 2001 attack on Parliament
- The Kargil war could have been avoided. The government had prior intelligence reports but did not act.
- The damage India suffered in the Kargil conflict were far higher than reported.
Awards and Honour
1992: Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award in India
1993: Doctorate in Literature from Kanpur University
1994: Lokmanya Tilak Award
1994: Outstanding Parliamentarian Award
1994: Bharat Ratna Pandit Govind Vallabh Pant Award
2015: Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in India
2015: Bangladesh Muktijuddho Sanmanona (Bangladesh Liberation War honour), the highest state award given by Bangladesh
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was really one of the most precious diamond of the country and on 16th August 2018, an era ends with the death of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and everyone lost the precious diamond of the country.
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