New Delhi: Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, one of India's most charismatic leaders who led the nation through several crises and held together a tenuous coalition with his inclusive politics, died in New Delhi on Thursday at the age of 93.
Vajpayee, a bachelor, who is survived by his adopted daughter Namita Kaul Bhattacharya, breathed his last at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) hospital where he was admitted June 11 with a variety of ailments. He was a moderate leader of an often-strident Hindu nationalist movement and a lifelong poet who revered nature but who oversaw India's growth into a swaggering regional economic power.
Apart from that, his interest in hockey is not known to many. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) veteran was fond of the sport right from his school days according to News18. The late leader also previously recalled an instance when the school principal paid a visit to his home to inquire about his health during the time he fell ill. Besides that, Vajpayee also enjoyed football.
Seen as a moderate face of BJP, Vajpayee's first became prime minister in 1996, leading a shaky coalition whose members were suspicious of the BJP's right-wing politics. It lasted for 13 days and collapsed after losing a vote of no-confidence.
His second stint as prime minister was in 1998 when the National Democratic Alliance again came to power but that lasted for just 13 months.
Finally, the NDA with Vajpayee as PM returned to power in 1999 and was voted out in 2004.
A 10-time MP of the Lok Sabha, Vajpayee announced his retirement from politics in 2005. He was also a member of the Rajya Sabha twice.
The former prime minister was admitted to the hospital on June 11 with a kidney tract infection, urinary tract infection, low urine output and chest congestion.
Vajpayee, a diabetic, had only one functional kidney. He suffered a stroke in 2009 that weakened his cognitive abilities. Subsequently, he developed dementia.