New Delhi: Leaders from all political spectrums on August 16 condoled the death of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and paid their tributes to the veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader.
Vajpayee, the first non-Congress leader to serve a full term in power, died on Thursday at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences where he had been undergoing treatment for a kidney ailment since June. He was 93.
Here how leaders mourned his passing:
A true Indian statesman: President Ramnath Kovind
“Extremely sad to hear of the passing of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, our former Prime Minister and a true Indian statesman. His leadership, foresight, maturity and eloquence put him in a league of his own. Atalji, the Gentle Giant, will be missed by one and all,” President Kovind said.
‘Tallest leader in post-independent India : Vice-president Venkaiah Naidu
“I never expected the end will come so soon. He was a true Indian. He never hesitated to speak from his heart. He was the tallest leader in post-independent India. Vajpayee ji is the Ajatshatru of modern times because he always maintained dignity and decorum,” Naidu said.
End of an era: Prime Minister Narendra Modi
“India grieves the demise of our beloved Atal Ji. His passing away marks the end of an era. He lived for the nation and served it assiduously for decades. My thoughts are with his family, BJP Karyakartas and millions of admirers in this hour of sadness. Om Shanti,” Modi said in a series of tweets.
“It was Atal Ji’s exemplary leadership that set the foundations for a strong, prosperous and inclusive India in the 21st century. His futuristic policies across various sectors touched the lives of each and every citizen of India,” he said.
The Prime Minister said Vajpayee’s “perseverance and struggles” helped in forming the saffron party “brick by brick.”
I will miss Atalji immensely: LK Advani
“I am at a loss of words to express my deep grief and sadness today as we all mourn the passing away of one of India’s tallest statesmen, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. To me, Atalji was more than a senior colleague- in fact, he was my closest friend for over 65 years,” Advani said.
I cherish the memories of my long association with him, right from our days as Pracharaks of the RSS, to the inception of Bharatiya Jana Singh, the struggle of the dark months during the Emergency leading to the formation of Janata Party and later the emergence of the Bharatiya Janata Party in 1980.
Atalji was a true ‘Ajatshatru’: Union home minister Rajnath Singh
“Pained beyond words at the demise of Shri Atalji. He had cherished the idea of a developed and powerful India in which all persons lived together in unity, peace and harmony.”
“Atalji was a true ‘Ajatshatru’ who had many friends across the political spectrum. He believed in political consensus and his beliefs had consequential effect on Indian politics.”
Loved and respected by millions: Rahul Gandhi
“Today India lost a great son. Former PM, Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji, was loved and respected by millions. My condolences to his family & all his admirers. We will miss him. #AtalBihariVajpayee,” Gandhi tweeted.
A great PM: Former prime minister Manmohan Singh
“I have learnt with profound sorrow about the sad demise of Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee. An excellent orator, an impressive poet, an exceptional public servant, an outstanding parliamentarian and great PM,” Singh said.
‘Reasoned critique, seeker of consensus’: Former president Pranab Mukherjee
“Deeply saddened at the passing away of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. A reasoned critique in opposition and a seeker of consensus as PM, Atal Ji was a democrat to the core. In his passing away, India has lost a great son and an era has come to an end. My deepest condolences,” Mukherjee said on Twitter.
Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee: Atalji’s passing away big loss to the nation.
“Very very saddened that the great statesman and former PM Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji is no more with us. His passing away is a very big loss to our nation. I will always cherish the many fond memories. Condolences to his family and his many admirers,” Mamata Beanerjee said in her message.
Vajpayee had no enemies, says Chidambaram
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram described former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as someone who anchored the BJP close to the middle and did not allow the party to swing to the extreme right of the political spectrum. In a condolence message, he said it was a fact that Vajpayee had no enemies and it was his distinguishing hallmark. The former finance and home minister said the BJP patriarch would be remembered for many things but above all for his genuine efforts to resolve the decades-long hostility between Pakistan and India.
Vajpayee believed in multi-party democracy: Left
Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was often described as the moderate face of the BJP, was a true believer in a multi-party democracy, Left parties said. Left leaders, who were otherwise strong critics of the former prime minister’s ideology, said Vajpayee always kept open the lines of consultation when he was in government and reached out to opposition parties before taking important decisions.
Became Lok Sabha speaker due to Vajpayee: Joshi
Senior Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi credited former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for becoming the Lok Sabha Speaker when the BJP-led government was in power at the Centre. Mr. Joshi, a former Lok Sabha MP from Mumbai, said he could occupy the prestigious post only due to the support of the then Prime Minister Vajpayee.
Vajpayee nursed BJP into a banyan tree in Indian politics: Shah
BJP chief Amit Shah paid heartfelt tributes to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, saying he nursed the party to make it a banyan tree and left an indelible mark in Indian politics.
“Atalji emerged as a popular national leader who believed that power is a means of service and led a spotless political life without compromising on national interest. And that’s why the people across political and social boundaries showered him with love and respect,” Mr. Shah tweeted.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal condoled the demise of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today, saying his death was “a great loss” for the country.
“Deeply pained by the passing away of our beloved Atal ji. India has lost a great leader, a leader of masses and a visionary who dedicated his entire life in service of the nation and its people,” said Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.
His words were our strength, his blessings were our energy, said Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan. Mr. Chauahan also said Mr. Vajpayee dedicated his life to serve the the nation.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, in his condolence message, said the nation has lost an important political figure who was also an orator, poet, writer, and intellectual.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed deep grief over demise of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and described him as one of the “tallest leaders” of the country. “I am deeply grieved over demise of Vajpayeeji. India has lost one of its tallest leaders. He was loved by the people of India and of course the people of Odisha as well. May his soul rest in peace,” Mr. Patnaik said.
India Inc pays rich tribute to “reformer” Vajpayee
India Inc paid a glowing tribute to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, describing the former prime minister as a “great economic reformer” under whose visionary leadership the country made rapid strides in economic growth.
“All of us who knew Vajpayee are saddened to hear of his passing away. He was a great leader with a great sense of compassion and humour. He will be remembered fondly by a vast number of us,” said Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Trusts.
“The second generation of economic reforms introduced under his visionary leadership contributed greatly to a facilitative investment climate which in turn promoted India’s rapid growth,” CII President Rakesh Bharti Mittal said.
“The nation has lost a statesman of independent India. An iconic leader on the world stage, Vajpayee led India with great wisdom, foresight and love for the country,” said N Chandrasekaran, Chairman Tata Sons.
“A great economic reformer, as a Prime Minister he was always guided by a strong conviction that liberalisation would help us realize our economic potential and ultimately open the doors to becoming a globally competitive, strong and resilient economy,” Bharti Enterprises Founder and Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said.
“RIP Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The leadership lesson that I learned from my interactions with him was that no matter how significant your achievements while in office, you ultimately earn the affection of people through your humanity and your humility…,” Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra said in a tweet.
Ficci president Rashesh Shah said the former prime minister was one of the most dynamic leaders who ushered in an era of reforms, progress and took the country forward.
“Our nation has lost one of our great political leaders who steered our country as Prime Minister to great heights. A man of great vision and charisma,” Biocon Chairperson and MD Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw tweeted.
Assocham President Sandeep Jajodia said Vajpayee’s towering personality, vision for nation building and deep respect for democratic institutions would remain an inspiration for the present and coming generations.
“He (Vajpayee) put the nation on fast track with initiatives like Golden Quadrilateral project, the New Telecom Policy, the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and the Fiscal Responsibility Act that laid down the path for future governments to follow,” Dr Prathap Reddy, Founder & Chairman, Apollo Hospitals said.
PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Anil Khaitan expressed deep anguish over the passing away of Vajpayee, saying that a vacuum has been created with his death which would be extremely difficult to fill.
Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani said Vajpayee will inspire the generations to come.
Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) Chairman Naveen Jindal said He was a great leader and excellent statesman who was loved and admired all.
Vedanta Resources Plc Group Chairman Anil Agarwal said in a statement that today, India has lost a true son of the soil, who rose from a very humble background to lead the country at a crucial juncture.
Film industry’s tributes for former PM
Priyanka Chopra: Former Prime Minister Shri #AtalBihariVajpayee’s visionary ideas and contributions for India were truly remarkable. The nation will always remember… #RIP My thoughts and condolences to the family.
Rajnikanth: I’m saddened to hear the demise of a great statesman Shri.Vajpayee ji. May his soul Rest In Peace.
Boman Irani: It is rare to find love and respect across the entire politcal spectrum. Atalji, was the rarest of them all.
Vivek Oberoi: A true legend, respected statesman, phenomenal poet, tall leader beyond stature, respected by even his strongest critics and rivals…#Atalji passes on. Leaving behind a legacy of greatness that will inspire generations forever!
Sports fraternity mourns Vajpayee’s demise
India’s sporting fraternity, led by Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, joined the nation in mourning the demise of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
“#AtalBihariVajpayee ji – A leader par excellence, a daring PM who made Pokhran possible, a highly principled politician & a poet of inspirational grit who was admired across party lines. His demise is an irreparable loss, and marks the end of an era,” Rathore wrote on his twitter handle.
Batting great Tendulkar wrote, “India is at a great loss today. Shri #AtalBihariVajpayee ji’s contributions to our nation have been innumerable. Thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones.”
“Asaman ko choo gaya, jo asmaan sa vishal tha, dharti mein simat gaya, jo mitti jaisa narm tha. Kaun hai jo Atal reh paya zindagi bhar, Atal banke wo zindagi ko paa gaya. Om Shanti #AtalBihariVajpayee ji,” cricketer Virender Sehwag said on the social networking site.
Olympic medallist boxer Vijender Singh said, “One of the Greatest PM this Country has ever seen.A visionary, A poet, A statesman, A man who won over million hearts. Man who deserves nothing but respect. Bharat Ratna #AtalBihariVajpayee is no more with us.His contribution for the motherland will inspire generations to come.”
Five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand said, “India loses one of its great leaders. Gentle Giant thats a wonderful way to remember him and his work. My deepest condolences . #ripvajpayee.”
Cricketer Anil Kumble wrote, “A sad day for the country, as we lose one of our greatest leaders. #AtalBihariVajpayee contributed so much for the betterment of the country. May his soul rest in peace.”
VVS Laxman said, “One of India’s Most Loved Prime Minister, a great poet and a wonderful statesman. We as a nation will miss you sir #AtalBihariVaajpayee ji. Deepest condolences to admirers and loved ones.”
Opener Shikhar Dhawan wrote, “My deepest condolences on the passing of our former Prime Minister Sri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ji. One of the few politicians I always respected for his honesty and devotion to the national cause. May his soul rest in peace.”
“The Indian Cricket Team and BCCI condoles the sad demise of former India Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Atalji dedicated his life in service of the nation,” the Indian Cricket Board tweeted.
Fast bowler Ishant Sharma said, “Saddened to hear the demise of a Great statesman & Glorious leader, Shri Vajpayeeji. He inspired us all with his exemplary conduct… My Heartfelt tribute to the departed soul #AtalBihariVaajpayee.”