Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several of his cabinet colleagues will pay tribute to BJP veteran Atal Bihari Vajpayee in New Delhi on his first death anniversary on Friday. Modi, the Union ministers and several top party leaders would visit 'Sadaiv Atal', the memorial of the BJP stalwart, to pay their tributes, official sources said. Vajpayee, former prime minister of India and one of the country’s most tallest leaders, breathed his last on August 16, 2018 at Delhi's AIIMS hospital.
The Bharat Ratna awardee, one of the very few in politics, Vajpayee entered the Lok Sabha from Uttar Pradesh's Balrampur in the second general elections in 1957 and was a parliamentarian for 47 years. He was elected to Lok Sabha 11 times and was twice a member of the Rajya Sabha. For Vajpayee, success was hard fought and well-earned. Born on Christmas day in 1924 into the family of a teacher had seen his share of poverty.
Academics were his focus and young Vajpayee completed his Masters in political science from Victoria College in Gwalior and later studied in DAV College in Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh. Here he had his first brush with electoral politics – contested and lost college elections.
Even in his defeat, Vajpayee left an indelible mark on the minds of the people with his oratory that seemed to come naturally to him. By then drawn to the RSS ideology and way of life, he embraced the RSS and remained a bachelor all his life.
The BJP leader's struggle in politics continued for a long time and during the 1975 emergency, Vajpayee was among the thousands imprisoned. He was also a part of the Janata Party that swept to power dethroning Indira Gandhi-led government in 1977 General Elections after lifting of emergency.
Vajpayee had opponents and did not have enemies. He even described Indira Gandhi as Maa Durga and earned wide condemnations from his own party colleagues.
(With inputs from agencies)