Former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away after a prolonged illness at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi on Thursday (Aug 16). He was 93.
The Bharaiya Janata Party (BJP) veteran was admitted to AIIMS on June 11 with kidney tract infection, chest congestion, urinary tract infection and low urine output.
He was reportedly a diabetic, was surviving on one functional kidney and developed dementia after surviving a stroke in 2009.
According to an official statement, Vajpayee’s condition deteriorated over the last 36 hours and he was put on ventilator support.
His end came at 05.05 pm on Thursday (Aug 16) due to multi-organ failure.
Following the death of Vajpayee, the world joined India to mourn the death of a leader who gave the country a new political thinking.
Meanwhile, the Centre has declared a 7-day national mourning; the national flag will be flown at half mast for seven days across India.
Government offices, schools and colleges will remain closed across Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Karnataka, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Haryana and Punjab on Friday (Aug 17).
Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh government have also declared seven-day mourning and public holiday on Friday (Aug 17) as a mark of respect to Vajpayee.
Meanwhile, Vajpayee’s mortal remains has been kept at his Krishna Menon Marg residence and will remain there till 8.30 am on Friday (Aug 17).
He will be taken to the BJP headquarters where people will be able to pay their last respects to him 9 am onwards, confirmed party chief Amit Shah.
His last journey to Delhi’s Vijay Ghat will start at 1 pm. He will be accorded a state funeral at 4 pm.
Here is how the nation and the world mourned the death of its beloved leader:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi:
We have lost our inspiration. We have lost an Atal Ratna. The personality of Atal Ji and the sadness due to his demise can’t be described in words. He was a wonderful orator, a prolific writer and he dutifully served our country. I have lost a father figure today. Atal Ji taught me valuable aspects about Sangathan and Shaasan. Through his leadership and struggles, Atal Ji strengthened the Jana Sangh and the BJP. He took these parties to every part of India. The thoughts, ideals and words of Atal Ji will always remain with us and inspire us.
President Ram Nath Kovind:
Extremely sad to hear of the passing of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, our former Prime Minister and a true Indian statesman. His leadership, foresight, maturity and eloquence put him in a league of his own. Atalji, the Gentle Giant, will be missed by one and all.
BJP patriarch and Vajpayee’s close aide LK Advani:
I am at a loss of words. I have no words to express my grief. He was not only one of India’s tallest statesmen, but my closest friend for over 65 years.
Indian Air Force:
#Tribute : IndianAirForce pays tribute to a great man, a great leader & a visionary – Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Its a great loss to the Nation, you will always be remembered as a Great Man. RIP
Congress president Rahul Gandhi:
Today India lost a great son. Former PM, Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji, was loved and respected by millions. My condolences to his family & all his admirers. We will miss him.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee:
He was a different human being, his way of practicing politics was also different. He was very kind-hearted. He used to respect everyone. We had the fortune of working with him in the government. Atal ji was an exceptional gentleman.
Industrialist Ratan Tata:
All of us who knew Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee are saddened to hear of his passing away. He was a great leader with a great sense of compassion and humor. He will be remembered fondly by a vast number of us.
Former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar:
I am saddened by the loss of former PM, Sh. Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji. My condolences to his family and followers.
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal:
Govt of Assam has declared State Holiday on August 17, 2018 as a mark of respect to former Prime Minister #AtalBihariVajpayee. All State Govt offices, semi Govt offices, public sector undertakings, corporations, boards, educational institutions, etc. will remain closed.
Odisha Chief Minister’s Office:
Odisha Government has announced seven day mourning on demise of former Prime Minister #AtalBihariVajpayee. All public offices and educational institutions to stay closed tomorrow with the tricolour at half-mast.
The United States grieves with India on the loss of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He will be remembered for his immense contribution in bolstering US-India relations. During his tenure, Prime Minister Vajpayee advocated for a robust partnership with the United States, referring to us as “natural allies.” The US Mission in India extends our deepest condolences to the family of former Prime Minister Vajpayee and the citizens of India.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina:
We are deeply shocked at the sad demise of the former Prime Minister of India Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, one of the most famous sons of India. He will be remembered for contributing towards good governance and for highlighting issues affecting the common people of India as well as for regional peace and prosperity.
Russia Ambassador Nikolay Kudashev:
We mourn the death of H.E. Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a great statesman. His name became an integral part of a whole era in Indian politics. His devoted service to the nation can hardly be overestimated. Mr Vajpayee enjoyed due respect in India and globally.
We knew him also as a poet, a man of knowledge and a true friend of our country, where he is well-known as one of the architects of our long-lasting and time-tested privileged strategic partnership.
Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda:
Vajpayee was a true parliamentarian. With his death, a vacuum has been created in Indian politics.
BJP president Amit Shah:
A pole star in the sky of politics is no more. The party has lost its guiding star and India has lost a great leader.
Congress leader P Chidambaram:
Vajpayee ji was a man of great wisdom, tolerance and compassion. He led his party to its first victory in national elections and established the credentials of the BJP to run the central government.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu:
He will be remembered for ushering in the connectivity revolution in the country. His personality, oratory, devotion to duty and friendliness all combined in his remarkable leadership will be remembered for a along time to come.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal:
Am deeply saddened. A great loss for India.
Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar:
India is at a great loss today. Shri #AtalBihariVajpayee ji’s contributions to our nation have been innumerable. Thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones.
Cricketer Irfan Pathan:
Two losses for India in two days. Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji a great leader and widely loved PM. Had the opportunity of meeting him back in 2004 at his residence.
Actor Amitabh Bachchan:
Atal Bihari Vajpai (1924 – 2018 ) An admirer of my Father’s works and vice versa ; gentle nature, strong fiery in his speeches.
Actor Parineeti Chopra:
My growing up years were spent under the country leadership of #AtalBihariVajpayee. And so for me, all memories of any prime minister are always compared to him !! He’s going to live forever in our hearts.
Actor Madhuri Dixit Nene:
My heartfelt condolences to the country, as we mourn the demise of our visionary leader, #AtalBihariVajpayee ji. May his soul rest in peace!
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.