Atal Bihari Vajpayee- The Politician beyond Politics

Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee

The first Prime Minister of India Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru was so impressed by a young man’s speaking skills that he predicted that this young man will become the Prime Minister Of India in future. That prediction was correct and later that young man became the first non-congress Prime Minister of India to serve a full term in office and I assume that you all know that he was the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a politician beyond politics. His character and his decisions during his tenure is a great example for every politician that’s why the Narendra Modi Administration declared that Vajpayee’s birthday on 25 December will be known and celebrated as “Good Governance Day” and “सुशासन दिवस” in hindi. 

He served three terms as the Prime Minister Of India for the first time of 13 days in 1996, then for a period of 13 months from 1998-1999 and then a full term from 1999-2004. 

During Vajpayee’s tenure, he took the initiative for the Nuclear Test and conducted the test in the Pokhran range in May 1998 and made India a nuclear capable country.

Today, we are going to read about the life of the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. 

Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Atal Bihari Vajpayee was an Indian Politician and also was a renowned poet and writer. He was one of the co-founder and a senior leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He was also a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu nationalist volunteer organization. 

Vajpayee was a member of the Indian Parliament for over 5 decades. He was elected in Lok Sabha, the Lower House, for 10 times and twice to the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House. He attempted to improve diplomatic relations with Pakistan by traveling to Lahore by bus to meet Nawaz Sharif, the P.M of Pakistan in February 1999.

But Pakistan saw our kindness as a weakness and initiated the Kargil War of 1999 which was fought from May 1999 to July 1999 resulting in the victory of India.

After the Kargil war of 1999, Vajpayee again attempted to restore relations through engagement with President Pervez Musharraf by inviting him to India for a summit at Agra.      

In 2015, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee was awarded India’s highest civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna by the President Of India, Pranab Mukherjee.

Childhood and Education

Guys let’s read about the childhood of Shri Atal Ji.

Born on 25 December 1924 in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh. His mother and father were Krishna Devi and Krishna Bihari Vajpayee. His father was a school teacher in their hometown. Ancestors of Atal Ji originally belonged to the village of Bateshwar in the Agra district of Uttar Pradesh. His grandfather, Shyam Lal Vajpayee had migrated from Bateshwar to Morena near Gwalior of Uttar Pradesh. 

Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Vajpayee began his education at the Saraswati Shishu Mandir in Gwalior where he completed his early schooling. In 1934, he was admitted to the Anglo-Vernacular Middle (AVM) school in Barnagar, Ujjain district, After his father joined as headmaster.

He completed his B.A degree in Hindi, English and Sanskrit from Gwalior Victoria College which is now known as Maharani Laxmi Bi Government College of Excellence. After that, he completed his post-graduation with an M.A degree in Political Science from DAV college, Kanpur.

Atal Ji during Independence Movement 

Vajpayee began his activism in Gwalior with Arya Kumar Sabha, the youth wing of the Arya Samaj Movement  of which he became the general Secretary in 1944. 

In 1939, he joined Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as a Swayamsevak (volunteer) as he was influenced by Babasaheb Apte. 

He attended the Officers Training Camp of the RSS camp during 1940-1944. He became a pracharak of RSS terminology in 1947. Vajpayee gave up studying Law due to the riots that happened during partition. 

After that he was sent to Uttar Pradesh as a vistaarak and also soon began working in the Deendayal Upadhyay’s newspaper’s Rashtra Dharma, Panchjanya, Swadesh and Veer Arjun.    

Rise Of Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee 

Let’s read how Atal Ji became the President of Bhartiya Jana Sangh

RSS promoted Atal Ji along with Deendayal Upadhyay to work for the newly formed Bhartiya Jana Sangh in 1951. He was the national secretary of the party and was in charge of the Northern region, based in Delhi. Soon he became a follower and aide of the party leader Syama Prasad Mukherjee.

Did You Know ?

Atal Bihari Vajpayee lost the elections to the Lok Sabha, he lost to Raja Mahendra Pratap in Mathura.  

After the death of Deendayal Upadhyay, Vajpayee became the new leader of the Jana Sangh. He became the president of Jana Sangh in 1968, running the party along with Nanaji Deshmukh, Balraj Madhok and L.K Advani.

Journey from Janata Party to Bharatiya Janata Party

Atal Ji was the president of Jana Sangh party when he was arrested during the Internal Emergency imposed by the Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi in 1975. 

Initially, he was arrested in Bangalore but later he was moved to a hospital in Delhi due to bad health. In December 1976, he ordered ABVP students activists to write an unconditional apology to Indira Gandhifor violence and disorder but the students refused his orders. 

Indira Gandhi ended the Emergency in 1977.

Many Political Parties formed an alliance, including BJS, to form the Janata Party. 

Janata Party won the 1977 general elections and Morarji Desai became the leader of the party and became the Prime Minister of India in 1977.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee served as the Foreign Minister in Desai’s Cabinet.

Did You Know ?

The First Foreign Minister to deliver a speech in the United Nations General Assembly in Hindi was Atal Bihati Vajpayee.

In 1979, Janata Party collapsed after the resignation of Desai And Vajpayee. Later, the Former

Members of Jana Sangh came together to form the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1980.

The first president of the Bharatiya Janata Party was Atal Bihari Vajpayee.  

The 1984 general elections were held after the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her two bodyguards. Vajpayee won the 1977 and 1987 elections from New Delhi then he shifted to his hometown of Gwalior for the election. But Vajpayee lost to Madhavrao Scindia who was from the Gwalior Royal Family and he was brought on the last day of filing nominations.

Vajpayee moderated BJP’s Hindu-nationalist position emphasizing its connection to the Janata Party and expressed support for Gandhian Socialism. The Assassination of Indira Gandhi generated great sympathy for Congress, leading to the massive victory to the polls. The BJP won only two seats in the Parliament. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1986 from Madhya Pradesh and was the leader of the BJP in Parliament. 

L.K Advani took office as the president of BJP in 1986. After he took the presidency of the party, BJP returned to the hardline Hindu nationalism. They became the political voice of the Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir Movement, which wanted to build a great temple dedicated to Lord Rama in Ayodhya. It would be built at the birthplace of Lord Rama after demolishing the Babri Masjid which stood there at that time. Their change in policy worked and BJP won 86 seats in the Lok Sabha in the 1989 General elections. In December 1992, religious volunteers of BJP, RSS and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) demolished the Babri Masjid.

He served as Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, for various terms starting at Balrampur from 1957–1962. He served again from Balrampur from 1967–1971, then from Gwalior from 1971–1977, and then from New Delhi from 1977–1984. Finally, he served from Lucknow from 1991–2009.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee as the Prime Minister 

Let’s read how Vajpayee became the Prime Minister Of India and how he contributed in the development of India.

First let me tell you about how Vajpayee became the Prime Minister Of India for just 13 days.

Vajpayee’s first term as the Prime Minister Of India 

In November 1995, BJP president Advani announced that Vajpayee would be the party’s prime ministerial candidate during a BJP Conference. Vajpayee responded by saying that the party needed to win the election first. 

In the 1996 general election, BJP became the largest party in Parliament as it gained support by religious polarization across the country after the demolition of the Babri Masjid. Indian President Shankar Dayal Sharma invited Vajpayee to form the government and that’s how Vajpayee became the 10th Prime MInister Of India. Later, BJP failed to gain the majority among the members of Lok Sabha as a result Vajpayee resigned after 13 days.

Vajpayee’s Second term 

When the two majority governments failed between 1996 and 1998, the Lok Sabha was dissolved and the fresh elections were held. In the 1998 General elections Bjp again got the lead as it gained the support of many political parties to form the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) and Vajpayee became the Prime Minister for the second time. 

This alliance was also an unstable one but Vajpayee got the credit of managing it well but still the government fell in just 13 months and there were a number of reasons.

The reasons are listed below :-

  1. Nuclear Test

In May 1998, India conducted five underground nuclear tests in the Pokhran Range in Rajasthan. Two weeks later Pakistan also conducted its own nuclear test and declared its nuclear capability. 

Countries like France supported India’s right to defensive nuclear power and some countries like the United States, Canada, Japan, Britain and the European Union imposed sanctions on information, resources and technology to India. Foreign criticism and decline in foreign trade failed to sway India from weaponizing its nuclear capability as the people of India made it popular domestically. The sanctions were eventually lifted from India and Pakistan just after six months. 

  1. AIADMK’s Withdrawal 

The AIADMK had continually threatened to withdraw from the coalition and national leaders flew from Delhi to Chennai to meet AIADMK’s general secretary J. Jayalalithaa but despite the effort they withdrew from the alliance and the NDA fell.

There were some more series of events which happened during the second tenure of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. 

Lahore Summit

Vajpayee wanted to improve diplomatic relations with Pakistan and to ensure that he inaugurated the Delhi-Lahore bus service in February 1999. He aimed towards permanently resolving the Kashmir dispute and other conflicts with Pakistan. The Lahore declaration promoted a commitment to dialogue, expanded trade relations and mutual friendship. This eased the tensions between the two nations and South Asia and the rest of the world.  

Kargil War 

Vajpayee wanted to improve relations with Pakistan but this was not a mutual thought.  Pakistan sent militants in May 1999 in the Kashmir Valley, where they took control over the border hilltops and unmanned border posts. The attack was centered around the town of Kargil that’s why it is called the Kargil War. 

The Indian Army launched Operation Vijay on 26 May 1999. The Indian Military fought with bravery and showed their strength to the enemy they fought in the midst of heavy artillery shelling and while facing extreme cold weather with difficult terrain and high altitude. 

Around 500 Indian Soldiers were martyred in the war and Pakistan’s 600-4,000 soldiers died in the war. India almost captured 70 % of the territory. 

During the war, Vajpayee sent a secret letter to US President Bill Clinton telling him that if Pakistani infiltrators did not withdraw from the Indian territory, “ we will get them out one way or another”. After Pakistan suffered heavy losses and both the US and China refused to take actions against India to stop its military operations. Nawaz Sharif asked the militants and remaining troops to withdraw the positions but militants did not take orders from Sharif but the NLI soldiers withdrew. After that the Indian Army cleaned those militants and forced them to withdraw. 

 Vajpayee’s third term and first full term

After the Kargil War, the 1999 general elections were held and BJP led NDA won 303 seats. They gained a comfortable and stable majority. Atal Bihari Vajpayee took oath as the Prime Minister Of India on 13 October 1999. 

This term of Atal Bihari Vajpayee made him the first Non-Congress Prime Minister to complete his tenure. 

In these 5 Years Atal Ji faced many hardships like the Hijack of IC 814 from Kathmandu, 2001 Attack On Parliament, 2002 Gujarat Riots.

Atal ji also introduced many new policies including many domestic economic and infrastructural reforms. He encouraged the private sector and foreign investments, reducing government waste, encouraging research and development and privatization of some government owned corporations.

There are many famous projects of Atal Bihari Vajpayee like the National Highway Development Project and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna. He also launched Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan in 2001 which aimed at improving the quality of education in primary and secondary schools.


Vajpayee had a stroke in 2009 which impaired his ability to speak. Actually, he had dementia and long term diabetes.

He was admitted to AIIMS in critical condition following a kidney infection. He died at the age of 93, at 5:05 PM on 16 August 2018. His body was taken to the Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters where many party workers paid their tributes. 

Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee death

At 4 PM, he was cremated with full honors at Rashtriya Smriti Sthal near Raj Ghat  and his last rites were completed by his foster daughter Namita Kaul Bhattacharya. Many honorable people attended his funeral including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the President Ramnath Kovind. On 19 August his ashes were immersed in the Holy Ganga at Haridwar by his daughter Namita Kaul Bhattacharya.

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