New Delhi, Aug 16: Senior BJP leader today bid a tearful and emotional farewell to former prime minister and Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
While referring to him as his closest friend for over 65 years. Advani said that he is at a loss for words.
"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," the veteran BJP leader 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 will be remembered as the pioneer of the first ever stable non-Congress coalition government at the Centre and I had the privilege of working as his deputy for six years," Advani also said.
He always encouraged and guided me throughout his life. "His captivating leadership qualities, mesmerising oratory, soaring patriotism and above all, his sterling humane qualities like compassion, humility and his remarkable ability to win over adversories despite ideological differences have all had a profound effect on me in all my years in public life,"
"I will miss Atalji immensely ..," he said.