Tribute to Atal Bihari Vajpayee: Odisha Govt declares holiday tomorrow

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Former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who presided over clandestine nuclear tests that confirmed India as a nuclear power but soured relations with rival Pakistan, died Thursday at the age of 93.

FILE PHOTO: Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee (C) looks at a gift named "Portrait of the Qing Emperor Qianlong Reviewing" given to him by the Forbidden City in Beijing, China June 24, 2003. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, one of the most charismatic leaders, is no more. He has always been an admirer of Yahs Chopra's work.

Away from politics, Vajpayee is also remembered as an accomplished poet, releasing many books over the years filled with Hindi poems.

"It was Atal Ji's exemplary leadership that set the foundations for a strong, prosperous and inclusive India in the 21st century".

Modi led the tributes to Vajpayee, tweeting: "His passing away marks the end of an era".

Vajpayee again became the Prime Minister in March 1998 but his government fell 13 months later on the floor of the Lok Sabha losing by one vote in the confidence motion after AIADMK headed by the late J.Jayalalithaa withdrew support to the BJP.

Vajpayee was admitted at the AIIMS with a kidney tract infection, urinary tract infection, low urine output and chest congestion.

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Mr Advani, whose Rath Yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya in 1990s gave huge electoral dividends to the BJP, announced Vajpayee as the prime ministerial candidate of his party in 1995.

"Shri Vajpayee Ji stood among the tallest leaders of modern India, who spent his whole life serving our great country".

In a circular, the Home Ministry said the national flag would fly at half-mast from today for seven days across India and a state funeral would be accorded to Vajpayee.

The claim appeared ironical against the backdrop of Modi's Independence Day address the day before, where he suggested that India began its climb to greatness in the past four years after six decades of darkness.

Shah said the "golden chapter of development got started" during Vajpayee's term as Prime Minister.

Vajpayee was returned to the premiership in 1999 after his BJP-led coalition secured a comfortable majority in the wake of a two-month long war with Pakistan over control of Kashmir.

Odisha government has declared government holiday tomorrow in the state.

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