Bilawal Bhutto condoles demise of former Indian PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Bilawal Bhutto condoles demise of former Indian PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee

"Atal ji and Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray shared close relations when the Sena supremo was alive.

"It was due to the perseverance and struggles of Atal Ji that the BJP was built brick by brick".

The former Prime Minister was admitted in the hospital after complaining of chest congestion, his urine output was on the lower side in June and also kidney tract infection.

Highlighting his efforts at bridging the gap between US-India relations, the article said: "As the Cold War ended, he moved nonaligned India closer to the United States, welcoming President Bill Clinton to India in 2000 and strengthening bonds with pledges of support for the United States after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001". He said that the former prime minister was an inspiration to him and that his death was a huge loss to the nation.

His body was being transferred on Thursday evening to his Delhi residence.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP National President Amit Shah had visited Vajpayee on Saturday.

A large crowd of mediapersons and others have gathered outside the hospital in south Delhi to get updates on Vajpayee's health, affecting the movement of traffic on the road today. Earlier in the day, political leaders cutting across partly lines thronged the hospital to enquire about Vajpayee's health.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi wrote, "Today India lost a great son. His ascent to the premiership signaled the renewal of the party, which had grown to become the main opposition to the Indian National Congress before eventually overtaking that party".

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"Extremely sad to hear of the passing of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, our former Prime Minister and a true Indian statesman".

After Modi, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi also paid a visit.

"In Atalji's demise, the nation has lost a stalwart who was known for statesmanship and astute leadership".

India under the governance of Vajpayee had witnessed major historic events like in May 1998, India conducted underground nuclear tests in Rajasthan's Pokhran desert.

While India's nuclear weapons program is believed to date to the 1980s, New Delhi had long insisted its atomic program was purely for peaceful purposes. His attempts to bring peace between two warring countries, though unsuccessful, ensured a begrudging respect from Pakistan and admiration from Indians.

But his peacemaker image was shattered later that year when Pakistan-backed forces pressed over the disputed Kashmir border, sparking a deadly conflict.

He withdrew from the public eye after a BJP-led alliance suffered a shock election defeat in 2004.

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