NEW DELHI: President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday unveiled the life-size portrait of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the Central Hall of Parliament.
Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Ministers and leaders of various parties were present during the event.
Vajpayee, a towering BJP leader, was the Prime Minister thrice – first for 13 days in 1996, then for 13 months from 1998 to 1999, and then from 1999 to 2004.
Born on December 25, 1924, in Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, the BJP veteran passed away on August 16, 2018, after a prolonged illness.
The decision to install the portrait of the Bharat Ratna was taken on December 18 at a meeting of Parliament’s Portrait Committee chaired by Sumitra Mahajan.
The meeting, which was attended by Deputy Speaker M. Thambi Durai, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, BJD's B Mahtab, TMC's Sudip Bondopadhyay, TRS' Jithendra Reddy, Shiv Sena's Ananth Geete and BJP's Satyanarayan Jatia, had taken the decision unanimously.
The leaders whose portraits already adorn the Central Hall include former Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, and Rajiv Gandhi.
On the eve of Vajpayee’s 94th birthday, Prime Minister Modi had released a commemorative coin in memory of the late leader on December 24, 2018.
The commemorative coin has the Emblem of India on one side and on the other side, Vajpayee’s picture with his name inscribed in Devanagari and Roman languages.