President Ram Nath Kovind unveiled a life-size portrait of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the Central Hall of Parliament House in the presence of Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.
Vajpayee, who passed away in 2018, joins Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi in the pantheon of former Prime Ministers who have been honoured in such a manner.
Here is the portrait of Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the Central Hall of Parliament:
Atal Bihari 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 Lok Sabha Speaker 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.
Earlier, on the eve of Vajpayee's 94th birthday, Prime Minister Modi released a commemorative coin in memory of the late leader on December 24, 2018, in the presence of Sumitra Mahajan and some ministers. 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.
Paying rich tributes to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, PM Modi said on the occasion that the former Prime Minister had never compromised on the party's ideology. He said Vajpayee had always pitched for the supremacy of democracy and was unlike those leaders for whom power is oxygen.
(With agency inputs)