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Former PM Vajpayee turns 88

Published: 25th December 2012 02:02 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th December 2012 09:58 PM   |  A+A-

Vajpayee_PTI
By PTI

Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today turned 88 with senior leaders, led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wishing him a healthy life.

Singh drove down to Vajpayee's 6A, Krishna Menon Marg residence and spent about 15 minutes with the veteran leader.

President Pranab Mukherjee also sent Vajpayee a bouquet of flowers.

BJP President Nitin Gadkari, senior BJP leaders L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Deputy Speaker Kariya Munda were among Vajpayee's early visitors.

"He received us with a smile," BJP chief spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters after greeting Vajpayee.

Born in the family of a humble school teacher on December 25, 1924, in Gwalior, Vajpayee began his career first as a poet, dabbled in journalism and later rose to become one of the most widely regarded political leaders of the country.

During his six-year tenure as Prime Minister, Vajpayee took the bold step of conducting the nuclear tests at Pokhran in May 1998. He is also considered a guru of coalition politics, who successfully led a government supported by as many as 24 political parties.

Among the BJP leaders who greeted him were Rajnath Singh, Shahnawaz Hussain, Kalraj Mishra, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Vijay Goel and Ananth Kumar.

"Vajpayee is a role model for the whole country for good governance. He is also known as guru of coalition politics. He led the nation on the path of progress," Kumar said.

"We all wished him very good health and long life. So that he continues to be an inspiration for all of us," he said.

On the occasion, BJP leaders also distributed blankets to the poor.

Uttarakhand BJP celebrated former prime minister's 88th birth anniversary as "Sushasan Diwas" (good governance day) and prayed for his longevity and good health.

Addressing a function organised at the party office at Dehradun, former Uttarakhand chief minister Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri described Vajpayee as a leader with a great vision who had the ability to catapult the country among the top nations of the world.

"Unfortunately Vajpayee took premature retirement from politics due to his failing health. Had he been active in politics, India would have been in the forefront with leading nations of the world in terms of development," Khanduri said.

Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir unit of BJP held a function at party headquarter to celebrate the occasion.

State BJP Chief Jugal Kishore Sharma termed the former PM as "Yug Purush" and said unprecedented development, corruption free administration and people-friendly government were some of the achievements of NDA government.



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