End of an era: Former PM Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee leaves for heavenly abode

New Delhi: A true nationalist, visionary, statesman, BJP stalwart and one of the tallest leaders of all times, ex-Prime Minister Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away today at AIIMS, New Delhi.

A statement issued by the AIIMS authorities said that Vajpayee died at 5.5 pm today.

He was admitted in AIIMS on June 11th and was stable in last nine weeks under the the care of doctors, the release added.

“His condition deteriorated over last 36 hours and despite the best efforts, we have lost him today” the release said.

His body will be taken to the BJP office tomorrow, where the public can pay homage, followed by cremation before sun sets, most likely at Ekta Sthal. Army officials have confirmed that gun carriage is ready for the former prime minister’s mortal remains, news reports suggest.

Condolences: Who said what?

Condolences poured in from across the nation over the sad demise of the great leader, who took India to a new height.

President Ram Nath Kovind condoled Vajpayee’s death. He tweeted “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”.

Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu said “He was a real ‘Ajatha shatruvu’ (One who has no enemies) who got along with people from all sections. He was the first non-congress PM, an able leader and provided a stable government. He practiced politics of principles and infused values into politics,”.

PM Narendra Modi said “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 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,” Modi tweeted further.

“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,” he further stated.

Naveen Patnaik, Odisha CM  reacted on the demise of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and said “I am deeply grieved at the sad demise of Vajpayee Ji. India has lost one of its tallest leaders.”

Rajnath Singh, Union Home Minster

“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,”.

Former PM Dr Manmohan Singh: I have learnt with profound sorrow about the sad demise of Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji. He was an excellent orator, an impressive poet, an exceptional public servant, an outstanding Parliamentarian and a great Prime Minister.

Rahul Gandhi, Congress president

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.

Pranab Mukherjee, Former President: Deeply saddened at the passing away of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. 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.

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan: “Grieved at the demise of our beloved leader Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji. Today is a sad day for Indian politics & a huge loss for the country. Former PM & first president of BJP, Atal ji was a prolific thinker, accomplished poet, political stalwart & a human being par excellence”,

Niranjan Patnaik,OPCC president: Former PM Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s sad demise has left a void in Indian politics that can’t be filled. He was a true statesman who believed in dialogue and engagement with everyone. May his soul rest in peace.

Baijayant Panda, former MP: Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti. #AtalBihariVajpayeeji amar rahe! He was always my idol. For long years he was ‘the right man in the wrong party’, but by the time i entered Parlmt, he was already (& remains) one of our most revered & popular heads of govt ever. He was a class apart.

Narasingh Mishra, Leader of Opposition, Odisha

“With the sad demise of Vajpayee Ji, we lost one of the best orators in Indian politics and a statesman. #RIPAtalBihariVaajpayee”.

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