Former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a Hindu nationalist who set off a nuclear arms race with rival Pakistan but later crossed the border in a grand diplomatic gesture, has died aged 93.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the ailing former leader on Wednesday evening.
Before inaugurating the Metro, Vajpayee along with Advani had took the very first metro ride.
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is seen at his residence in New Delhi in July 2007.
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"Atal Ji's passing away is a personal and irreplaceable loss for me". In the 1990s, as a rising BJP sought a face acceptable to allies, Mr. Vajpayee returned as the party's prime leader, delivering one unforgettable speech in Parliament after another. My condolences to his family & all his admirers. Vajpayee was being treated at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi, where he was admitted nine weeks ago.
"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", he said.
Hearing him speak, India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru is believed to have told a visiting foreign dignitary of the young MP's enormous promise, saying that he could be Prime Minister one day. Vajpayee also led India during its most recent war with Pakistan in 1999.
But a year later, Vajpayee rode on the first bus to begin a new service from Delhi to the Pakistani city of Lahore in a rare trip by an Indian premier to mend ties with the neighbor. Funeral will be held at 4 pm at Smriti Sthal, informed BJP President Amit Shah.
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"A leader par excellence, a daring PM who made Pokhran possible, a highly principled politician & a poet of inspirational grit who was admired across party lines.His demise is an irreparable loss, and marks the end of an era", tweeted Rathore.
Among those who visited the hospital were Union ministers Ram Vilas Paswan, Radha Mohan Singh and J P Nadda as well as National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Mr Vajpayee suffered a stroke in 2009 and retreated from public view.
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