From conducting the first nuclear test in the country to recording a landmark six percent growth in GDP in 2002-03, Vajpayee became the quintessential household figure by the turn of the millennium.
Former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away on Thursday, 16 August at Delhi’s AIIMS hospital after fighting a month-long battle with kidney tract infection, urinary tract infection, low urine output and chest congestion.
Vajpayee was one of the most celebrated and liked figures of the Bhartiya Janta Party. The former Prime Minister was at the helm of the current ruling party for several decades and was responsible for shaping the party in what it has become today.
From conducting the first nuclear test in the country to recording a landmark six percent growth in GDP back in 2002-03, Vajpayee became the quintessential household figure by the turn of the millennium.
Here are 10 lesser known facts about him:
> The leader: He is the only Indian Prime Minister to serve three terms- first for a term of 13 days in 1996, then for a period of 13 months from 1998 to 1999 and finally a full five-year term from 1999 to 2004. He was the first non-congress Prime Minister to serve the full five-year term.
> A bold prediction: In his maiden Lok Sabha speech in 1957, Vajpayee earned the laurels of senior parliamentary leaders including then PM Jawaharlal Nehru who said, "One day this young man will become the Prime Minister of India."
> A freedom fighter: Vajpayee and his elder brother Prem participated in the Quit India Movement and were even incarcerated for 23 days. They were released after submitting a written undertaking, stating that they would not participate in the anti-British struggle, a promise that the brothers kept.
> A veteran politician: Vajpayee was a member of the Indian Parliament for over four decades, as he was elected to the Lok Sabha, the lower house, ten times, and twice for the Rajya Sabha, the upper house.
> The Pracharak: Babasaheb Apte inspired him to join RSS in 1939. He attended the Officers Training Camp of the RSS during 1940–44 and became a "full-time worker" in 1947.
> His tryst with journalism: As a prolific writer, he worked for newspapers of Deendayal Upadhyaya, Rashtradharma (a Hindi monthly), Panchjanya (a Hindi weekly) and the dailies Swadesh and Veer Arjun.
> The orator: In 1977, as the external minister, Vajpayee became the first person to deliver a speech in Hindi at the United Nations General Assembly.
> He and his father went to the same Law College (DAV College in Kanpur) together for their Law studies and they even shared the same hostel room.
> The good politician: Vajpayee's birthday, 25 December, is celebrated as Good Governance Day.> The UPA Government in July 2013 admitted before the Supreme Court that NDA Government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee has developed half the roads in last 32 years in their 5-year term.