BJP leaders greet former PM Vajpayee on his 87th birthday

New Delhi, Dec 25 (ANI): Scores of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) activists and well wishers gave their best wishes to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his 87th birthday here on Saturday.

The BJP leaders visited Vajpayee's residence with bouquets and presents and gave their good wishes to him.

Senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh after offering his good wishes to Vajpayee told reporters that he had prayed to god for the good health of the former Prime Minister.

"Today, it is the birthday of respectable Atal Bihari Vajpayee and I came to his house to wish and give him good luck and I even prayed to god that he should be healthy," he said.

Singh also appealed to the Central Government to honour Vajpayee with the 'Bharat Ratna' for his achievements and contributions to the country.

"I want to appeal to the Government of India that the man, who has contributed so much to the country and Parliamentary democracy, who maintained the democratic values, and he is still firm on that should be given the Bharat Ratna for his achievements and contributions," he added.

Vajpayee has not been keeping well for sometime now and did not contest the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

Regarded as one of the pillars of the BJP, Vajpayee has been a stalwart in the Indian political arena for over six decades.

He became Prime Minister for the first time in 1996, but only for 13 days, he then regained power as head of a multi-party coalition from 1998 to 1999 and for the third time from 1999 to 2004.

Vajpayee has been applauded for his oratory skills and debates on the floor of the Parliament.

Vajpayee is the only Prime Minister after Jawaharlal Nehru to occupy the office of the Prime Minister of India through three successive mandates.

He began his political career with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological fountainhead of the BJP.

Born into an upper-caste family on December 25, 1924, Vajpayee was detained by police during a protest against British rule in 1942 and during emergency rule imposed by late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in the 1970s.

A bachelor with two adopted daughters, he was elected to Parliament for the first time in 1957.

In May 1998, he stunned the world by announcing that India had broken a 24-year self-imposed moratorium by conducting underground nuclear tests close to the Pakistan border.

Later, Vajpayee, sometimes called an incorrigible optimist, ventured off the beaten track in the search of elusive peace with Pakistan despite hawks cautioning around him not to go ahead. (ANI)

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