"I Lost A Father Figure" PM Modi Mourns Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee

"I Lost A Father Figure" PM Modi Mourns Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee

New Delhi: Today, PM Modi said that Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a father-figure for him and his death was  "personal and irreplaceable loss".  The former Indian PM  died in Delhi after a long illness.

In his series of tweets PM Modi said it was the "end of an era" and Mr Vajpayee, through his "exemplary leadership", had "set the foundations for a strong, prosperous and inclusive India in the 21st century".

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi - whose government conferred Bharat Ratna on Atal Bihari Vajpayee and declared his birthday, December 25, as "Good Governance Day" -- mourned the passing of the BJP patriarch today in a series of deeply emotional tweets.
The three-time Prime Minister, who had been hospitalised since June 11, died a little after 5 pm.

"He was a leader, orator, journalist, statesman and more than anything a true son of India... Atal-ji may have gone, but his ideas, views, simplicity will always inspire us Indians," he said.

Underscoring the deeper loss, the Prime Minister said, "For me, personally, it is like losing a father... Whenever he met me, he used to embrace me like a father".

His initial tweet, a deeply emotional one in Hindi, read, "I'm speechless, I feel a great void, yet am overcome by emotions".

Mr Vajpayee's passing, he said in another tweet, was a "personal and irreplaceable loss" him. "I have countless fond memories with him. He was an inspiration to Karyakartas like me. I will particularly remember his sharp intellect and outstanding wit," read another tweet by the Prime Minister, who had visited the 93-year-old leader five times since his admission in Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences on June 11.

Last evening, the Prime Minister visited Mr Vajpayee and stayed for 50 minutes after the hospital announced that he had to be put on life support systems after his condition turned critical. This afternoon, he returned again, minutes after Amit Shah rushed back after his morning visit.

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The PM blogged, "In times of turbulence and disruption, a nation is blessed to have a leader who rises to become its moral compass and guiding spirit, providing vision, cohesion and direction to his people. And, in such a moment at the turn of the century, India found one in Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was gifted in spirit, heart and mind".

Mr Vajpayee, who ruled the country for 13 days in 1996, 13 months in 1998 and for five years from 1999, had retired from public life over the last few years due to his failing health. But the friends and well-wishers he won over his 47-year career in parliament streamed into AIIMS for over 24 hours to wish him a speedy recovery - a reflection of his politics and personality.

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