President Kovind, PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Sadaiv Atal’ memorial in New Delhi Courtesy: Twitter/BJP

President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with other leaders Wednesday paid tribute to BJP leader and former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his 95th birth anniversary. Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla were among the leaders who accompanied Modi to pay floral tributes to Vajpayee at ‘Sadaiv Atal’ memorial in New Delhi.

On his Twitter profile, PM also shared a message praising Bharat Ratna Vajpayee along with a video montage of the former prime minister’s pictures. “The citizens of this country give their tribute to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who is in their hearts, on his birth anniversary,” PM Modi tweeted.

Prime Minister Modi is also scheduled to unveil a 25-ft bronze statue of Vajpayee in Lucknow today. During his visit, PM will also lay the foundation stone of Atal Bihari Medical University. The statue of five-time Lucknow MP Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who died last year aged 93, was brought from Jaipur on December 9 on a truck and has been installed at the Lok Bhawan entrance. According to government sources, nearly Rs 90 lakh had been sanctioned for the construction of the statue and the pedestal.

On Tuesday, the Union Cabinet has approved the Atal Bhujal Yojana, a Rs 6,000 crore scheme to improve groundwater management. The government will also name a strategic tunnel under Rohtang Pass after him.

Vajpayee, known for his oratory skills, was the first non-Congress Prime Minister to complete a full term in office. After he lost a vote of confidence in 1999, he was re-elected with a larger majority in the general elections that followed, a first in India’s history.

Vajpayee remained a Member of Parliament for 47 years, elected 11 times to Lok Sabha, and twice to Rajya Sabha. The BJP stalwart died at the age of 93 on August 16, 2018, at AIIMS hospital in New Delhi following a prolonged illness.