The Bharatiya Janata Party called for an all-party prayer meeting in New Delhi on Monday in remembrance of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who passed away on Thursday after prolonged illness. From being arrested by the British during the final years of the 'Raj' to being praised by no less than Jawaharlal Nehru, Atal Bihari Vajpayee has experienced all the ups and down of politics.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressed the prayer meeting, recalled the memories of leader and lauded his contribution for the Nation.
"Atal Ji's life was for the people of India. When he was young, he had decided that he wanted to serve his fellow Indians. He entered politics when only one party dominated the political discourse", Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.
"He spent several "years in opposition but never compromised his ideology. His efforts ensured that India became a nuclear power and attributed the tests to the brilliance of our scientists. He never buckled under pressure. He was Atal after all", he added.
In the general elections of 1996, BJP emerged as the single largest party in the Lok Sabha. The then President Shankar Dayal Sharma invited Atal Bihari Vajpayee to form government and Vajpayee was sworn in as the 10th Prime Minister of India. However, BJP failed to garner enough support from other parties to obtain a majority, as a result, Atal Bihari Vajpayee had to resign. Talking about the incident, Prime Minister Narendra said:
"When he formed govt for 13 days, no party was willing to support him. As a result government fell. Yesterday, Bajrang Punia, who I think has never seen him dedicated his gold medal to Atal ji, I think this says a lot about his personality", he said.
Meanwhile, senior political leaders, including Home Minister Rajnath Singh, LK Advani, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, Ghulam Nabi Azad, former J&K CMs Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, as well as Yoga guru Ramdev were also in attendance for the prayer meet. Vajpayee's daughter Namita Bhattacharya and granddaughter Niharika were also there for the prayer meeting.
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