Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee conferred the highest honour of Bharat Ratna



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Shri Atal bihari Vajpayee was conferred Bharat Ratna on December 24, 2014, the highest honour conferred on its citizens by the government of India.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee (born 25 December 1924) is an Indian statesman who was the eleventh Prime Minister of India, first for 13 days in 1996 and then from 1998 to 2004. A leader of the centre-right Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), he is the first Prime Minister from outside the Indian National Congress party to serve a full five-year term.

During his administration, Vajpayee introduced many domestic economic and infrastructural reforms, including encouraging the private sector and foreign investments, reducing governmental waste, encouraging research and development and privatisation of some government owned corporations. The UPA Government on July 1, 2013 accepted before Supreme Court that National Democratic Alliance Government lead by Vajpayee has developed half the roads in last 32 years in their 5 year term.

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Vajpayee, during his tenure, reached out to Pakistan, rebuilt bridges with the US and other world powers despite their withering criticism of India’s nuclear tests which were successfully conducted in 1998 in Pokharan. Every Indian remembers Kargil incusrsion by Pakistani army when swift action under Vajapayee by the Indian army helped recapture 70 % of the territory while Pakistan planned to launch a nuclear attack in the face of a loss in the war with India. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was summoned to the US by Bill Clinton and warned against any such action. Finally Pakistan army withdrew from Kargil after heavy losses. The victory in Kargil bolstered the image of Vajpayee and he was hailed across the country for his bold and strong leadership.

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In the 1999 general elections, the BJP-led NDA won 303 seats out of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha, in the aftermath of the Kargil operations, thereby securing a comfortable and stable majority. On 13 October 1999, Atal Bihari Vajpayee took oath as Prime Minister of India for the third time.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a great orator and a quick witted politician.  At times he would answer his opponents in poetry verses. He had a great comeback skill with people coming in hordes to listen to his speeches. He has written some excellent poems which have been published in a book form.

Mr Vajpayee suffered a stroke in 2009 which impaired his speech. He has dementia and is wheelchair bound rarely seen in public for the last few years. Perhaps he won’t know or recognise the highest most honour conferred on him by the government of India yet he rightly deserves such an honour for a life well served in the interest of the nation.

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