Atal Biharai Vajpayee, a visionary, statesman, politician, leader of people and most important, loved by all. In his political career which spanned several decades, he created a legacy which will ensure that he will never be forgotten. Here are 35 interesting facts from his life:
1. He was born on 25 December 1924 in Gwalior.
2. His father was Pandit Krishan Bihari Vajpayee. He was a teacher. His mother's name was Krishna.
3. He studied at Victoria College, Gwalior, which is now Laxmibai College. He joined the RSS as a student and became a national level debater.
4. He went to Kanpur's DAV College for his post-graduate studies in Political Science. He passed his MA with a first division.
5. He further began his LLB from Kanpur but left it midway to work full-time for the RSS.
6. It was under the mentorship of Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay that his political philosophy grew.
7. He also worked for some time as a journalist with Panchjanya, Rashtra Dharm, Dainik Swadesh and Veer Arjun.
8. He and his brother were arrested by the British in 1942 and kept in custody for 23 days.
9. After Independence, he became National General Secretary of Bharatiya Jan Sangh and was in-charge of north India.
10. In 1957, he contested Lok Sabha elections from three seats on the Jan Sangh ticket. He lost in Lucknow, lost his deposit in Gwalior but won from Balrampur.
11. His oratorical skills so impressed Jawaharlal Nehru that he predicted that one day Vajpayee would become prime minister of India.
12. After the death of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay in 1968, he became National President of Jan Sangh.
13. During the national Emergency from 1975 to 1977, he went to jail several times.
14. In 1977, he became Foreign Minister in the Morarji Desai government.
15. As foreign minister, he addressed the UN General Assembly in 1977. He spoke in Hindi. This was the first time that anyone had addressed the UN in Hindi. Vajpayee himself said that this was one of the crowning moments of his life.
16. In 1980, Vajpayee, LK Advani and Bhairon Singh Shekhawat formed the Bharatiya Janata Party. Vajpayee became the first president of the party.
17. He was a vocal opponent of the Congress in the eighties. He spoke strongly against the growth of terrorism in Punjab. He held Indira Gandhi's policies responsible for the growth of terrorism in Punjab.
18. He won Lok Sabha elections nine times. He was also a member of the Rajya Sabha from 1962 to 1967 and in 1986.
19. In 1996, it was under his leadership that the BJP emerged as the single largest party in Lok Sabha.
20. The then president, Shankar Dayal Sharma invited Vajpayee to form the government.
21. Vajpayee took oath as the 10th prime minister of India. But he was unable to prove his majority on the floor of the house and resigned after 13 days.
22. After the 1998 elections, the BJP formed the government with the help of other parties. Vajpayee again became prime minister.
23. Shortly after coming to power, he green signaled nuclear tests in Pokhran.
24. The peace process with Pakistan led to the Lahore Accord. He also brought back the Delhi-Lahore bus service.
25. The Kargil War went on from May to July 1999 and resulted in victory for India.
26. Thirteen months into the term, his government fell when AIDMK withdrew support.
27. In the 1999 elections, the National Democratic Alliance under his leadership came to power with a 303 seat majority.
28. He became prime minister for a third time on 13 October 1999.
29. The IC 814 Indian Airlines hijacking to Kandhar was a real test for his government. After days of negotiations, the government agreed to free the terrorists in return for the lives of the passengers.
30. Vajpayee launched the Golden Quadrilateral project, Prime Minister Rural Road Network scheme and Education for All during his term as prime minister.
31. The Agra Summit took place between him and General Pervez Musharraf between 14 and 16 July 2001.
32. Pakistani terrorists attacked Parliament on 13 December 2001.
33. In 2001, Vajpayee underwent knee replacement surgery
34. In 2009, he suffered a brain stroke. After that, he retired from public life.
35. On 11 June 2018, he was admitted to AIIMS after his health deteriorated.