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India’s Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee Passes Away At 93

Atal Bihari Vajpayee Passes Away

India’s Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is no more. The 93-year-old BJP leader who was a diabetic had been undergoing treatment at AIIMS since June 11. Vajpayee, was under the supervision of Dr Randeep Guleria, a leading pulmonologist with AIIMS.

Vajpayee as a Leader

Atal Bihari Vajpayee first became the Prime Minister for a brief period in 1996 and then served a full-term from 1998 to 2004. He was missing from action on the political front over the last decade because of his failing health. Born in 1924, he entered politics during the Quit India Movement in 1942. Vajpayee was elected to the Lok Sabha from Lucknow in 1991, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2004. Vajpayee was also the first external affairs minister to deliver a speech in the UN General Assembly in Hindi.

He launched important road projects like Golden Quadrilateral and the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. He also launched Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan to provide universal access to free elementary education for children aged between 6-14. India conducted its second Nuclear Test under his leadership in 1998.

Past medical issues

Vajpayee had undergone a total knee replacement surgery in 2001, and in 2009 he suffered a stroke that left him speech-impaired.

Vajpayee and Women Empowerment

Atal Bihari Vajpayee was an ardent champion of women’s empowerment and social equality. He believed in a forward-looking, forward-moving India, a strong and prosperous nation confident of its rightful place in the comity of nations.

He was an active proponent of women’s participation in politics. According to him, “Women hold half the sky then why should they not hold a third of the political ground?”

“Political democracy cannot last unless there lies at the base – social and economic democracy. I am convinced that in the long run, women empowerment will positively transform the social and political agenda around the world.” -Atal Bihari Vajpayee

 During his tenure, he pushed for 33% reservation for women in the parliament as well as the state legislature. Their party’s constitution also mandated that at least one of the General Secretary had to be a woman. It was also under his leadership,  that his party had the maximum women in the Lok Sabha.

Since the news of his death Twitter is abuzz with condolences: