Statesman and Poet: The Legacy of Atal Bihari Vajpayee

OV Digital Desk

Atal Bihari Vajpayee (25 December 1924-16 August 2018) was an Indian politician. He was India’s Prime Minister three times. A leading member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, he co-founded it. His also works include poetry and novels. He got the Bharat Ratna in 2015. It was declared Good Governance Day in 2014 by Narendra Modi’s government.

Life and Career

Atal Bihari Vajpayee was born on 25 December 1924, in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, India. The Saraswati Shishu Mandir, Gorkhi, in Gwalior was where he studied. From Victoria College, Gwalior, he got a BA in Hindi, Sanskrit, and English. Then he went to D.A.V. college and got his MA in Political Science.

As a swayamsevak or volunteer, he joined Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in 1939. He joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh at 16 and became an active member. The Bharatiya Jana Sangh elected him to parliament in 1957. During the Internal Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi, he was arrested along with other opposition leaders. The state of emergency ended in 1977. Bhartiya Janta Party was formed in 1977 when Bharatiya Jana Sangh joined three other parties. Morarji Desai became prime minister when his alliance won. Desai appointed Vajpayee to be the minister for external affairs / Foreign minister. Vajpayee was the first person to speak to the U.N. General Assembly in Hindi as a foreign minister in 1977.

Vajpayee helped reorganize the BJS into the BJP after the Janata Party split. His 1992 speech against the destruction of the historic mosque in Ayodhya by Muslim extremists was one of the few by Hindus.

As India’s 10th prime minister, he was sworn in 1996. In the end, he had trouble forming a government, so he resigned after 13 days. He won a record number of seats for the BJP in the 1998 elections but lost his post on 17 April 1999. He lost again in the 1999 elections. In the Lok Sabha, the BJP-led NDA took 303 seats out of 543. He was elected prime minister of India for the third time on 13 October 1999. He retired from politics in 2005. He died on 16 August 2018, in New Delhi, Delhi, India.

Awards and Legacy

Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian award, was presented to him in 1992. He got the Bharat Ratna in 2015, the highest civilian award in India.

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