New Delhi, Aug 16: Often described as the moderate face of BJP, charismatic Atal Bihari Vajpayee was an iconic leader whose acceptability across the political spectrum broke barriers pitch forking the saffron party to centre stage of politics in the late 90s.
An orator par excellence and known for taking bold initiatives, notable being the attempt to bridge differences in Indo-Pak relations, Vajpayee, who is lauded as a statesman politician, went far beyond his BJP's nationalist political agenda.
Here are the interesting facts about Atalji:
Vajpayee was fondly called as "Baap ji" by his family members and close friends.
He has been a bright student and was awarded first class Post Graduate Degree in Political Science. 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 room in the hostel.
Vajapayee always wanted to become a journalist but came to politics by mistake.
Before joining Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS), Atal was inclined towards communism and after being influenced by Babasaheb Apte, he joined the RSS in 1939 and in 1947, he became a Pracharak of RSS (technically a full-time worker).
In 1942, Atal was arrested along with elder brother Prem for 23 days for participating in Quit India Movement against the British Government in India.
Vajpayee has written many books, such as Sankalp-Kaal, Vicara bindu, Meri Ekyavan Kavitayen, Decisive days, Bindu-bindu vicara, Shakti Se Shanti, Foreign affairs, Selected Poems, State of the nation, Kya Khoya Kya Paya, and many more.
He uplifted Hindi to the international platform by speaking in Hindi at the United Nations, he became the first person to speak in Hindi at the United Nations.
The first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru had said that Atal Bihari Vajpayee will one day become the Prime Minister of India and he was proved right.
A senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the first non-Congress prime minister who served a full five-year term in office.
He lost 1981 Lok Sabha Elections against Madhav Rao Sindhiya (Scindia) from Gwalior constituency.
He became the Prime Minister of India for three times- first time on 16 May 1996 for 13 days only, second time on 19 March 1998 for 13 months and third time on 13 October 1999 for a full 5-year term.
On 13 May 1998, he led the successful nuclear test named- Operation Shakti at Pokhran in Rajasthan and put India in the league of the world's elite nuclear club.
In order to build a strong relation with Pakistan, he took a bus journey named- Sada-e-Sarhad to Lahore on 19 February 1999.
Besides being the most revered and beloved politician in India, he is the only Parliamentarian to be elected from 4 different Indian States- Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
Awarded with highest civilian award of the Republic of India, Bharat Ratna, Vajpayee was a tall standing man with four decade long experience in politics and was able to create a lasting impact.