Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the 10th Prime Minister of India from 1998 to 2004 and the first non-Indian National Congress party PM since Jawaharlal Nehru in 1957. He was first elected to Lok Sabha in 1957 at the age of 25 and went on to become a great orator and poet. He became the chief minister of Gujarat’s capital, Ahmedabad, but resigned after being accused of a rash of arson incidents.
A believer in ‘progressive’ economics and Hindu right wing politics, he was instrumental in stopping decades of rule by Indian National Congress under Rajiv Gandhi.
About Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was born in 1924 in Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh). He was a poet and a playwright. He studied at Victoria College, Gwalior, Government College, Kanpur and Lucknow University.
Atal started his political career as a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1942. Later that year he became a full-time worker for the RSS. During this time he also wrote poems for newspapers published from Nagpur.
Life of Vajpayee
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was born in the town of Gwalior. Vajpayee was born on the 25th of December in 1924. He was born to a Brahmin family in a house named Deda at Tej Ratan Lodge, Gwalior. Atal was christen Atal of Vishwanath Jain. He was the youngest child and only son of Balwantrai Vajpayee (Dada), who came from an upper-caste Maharashtrian family, and Smt. Madhu Bai came from a low-caste Maratha family.
Atal never told anyone he had been named Atal Bihari Vajpayee by his father and never asked for it to be recorded that way either.
Vajpayee was a good student in school and was a voracious reader. He was admitted in Victoria College, Gwalior, where his teachers included the famous Professor Satyapal Chandra. Later Vajpayee became the editor of official Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) publication ‘Panchjanya’.
Vajpayee attended Government College in Kanpur where he studied Hindi literature and Kanpur University. In the 1940s, he became a full-time worker for the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh). During this time he also wrote poems for newspapers published from Nagpur.
His personal life
In 1949, Atal Bihari Vajpayee married Swaralata Shuklani. They had two sons and a daughter. After his marriage, Vajpayee was transfer to Nagpur where he worked for the RSS. His wife died in 1982. In 1992, he married Ms. NRI Krishna Kumari. She was a teacher and translator of spiritual literature from Sanskrit to English. They have a daughter named Gaurav, who is also an active RSS worker.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was jailed for participating in the Quit India Movement in 1942.
He was elected to the Lok Sabha from Balrampur constituency in 1957, defeating Raja Mahendra Pratap of Congress. He was re-elected for the same seat in 1962, 1967, and 1971.
In 1977 he became a cabinet minister at the Centre for the first time, due to Janta Party coalition government and was elected to 7th Lok Sabha from Lucknow. He remained a member of parliament till his death.
Vajpayee has held many posts in his career, including that of the President of the Jana Sangh, a hard line Hindu political party. He was a member of Parliament for several terms and also served as the Minister of External Affairs in the cabinet of Chandra Sekhar. Later he became Prime Minister under BJP (Bhartiya Janata Party). He is a member of several social organizations and has received many awards from all over the world.
Vajpayee was a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu revivalist group. He was one of the signatories to the RSS’s controversial “Manifesto for a Free India” in 1948. The manifesto called for restrictions on non-Hindus, particularly Muslims and Christians, to be remove from India by 1990. He also played a role in the 1942 Quit India Movement while he was in college.
He was President of the Jana Sangh from 1968 to 1975, and again from 1980 to 1986. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was first appointed as External Affairs Minister by Prime Minister Morarji Desai in 1977. After the Janata Party’s victory in the 1977 general election. He became a minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister Morarji Desai, holding various portfolios until 1979.
In 1979, when Desai resigned as prime minister. Vajpayee was chosen as the leader of the BJP’s parliamentary party and LK Advani became the leader of the BJP legislature party. The two were sworn in as the Prime Minister and deputy prime minister on March 11, 1979.
The Janta Party Government split on the issue of Tibet. Vajpayee opposed the Indian army’s invasion of the country and resigned from office in protest on 15 November 1979. He was succeed by Desai’s foreign minister and longtime rival, Charan Singh.
In 1980, he and Advani worked with Hartals (general strikes). The Jana Sangh was rename Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by its reluctant leader Balraj Madhok on 1 January 1980. Vajpayee became BJP president in October 1982 with Advani remaining as party president.
Terms as prime minister
Vajpayee served as prime minister three times, first for a short term of 13 days in 1996. The next of his tenures as prime minister was his most well-known and lasted almost six months, from 1998 to 1999.
First term: May 1996
On 16 May 1996, Vajpayee sworn in as the 13th Prime Minister of India. His cabinet forms by merging the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal parties. A few hours later, the government introduced a bill in parliament to amend Article 370 of the Indian constitution that stated that Jammu and Kashmir would be an integral part of India.
This gave rise to large-scale protests by Muslims. Therefore, other groups all over India in various cities. However, Demanding that Kashmir give statehood as promised by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. Therefore, this action caused large-scale riots in some cities like Delhi, Kanpur, Lucknow, and many other places.
Second term: 1998–1999
On 16 October 1998, Vajpayee sworn in with a full majority for the first time. Therefore, he appointed National Democratic Alliance coalition members as ministers and gave them the power to choose some of their own members. Therefore, this created rifts between the hard-line elements of the party and the members who had joined from other parties.
This coalition dissolved after 13 days when the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam under Jayalalitha withdrew support from Vajpayee’s government and withdrew its ministers.
Third term: 1999–2004
Vajpayee has sworn in again on 2 March 1999 to serve the next government for the remaining 13 months. This time the BJP had an absolute majority by winning all Lok Sabha seats in South and North East India.
His cabinet, like his previous governments, had a majority of ministers from the BJP. But members from other parties were give important portfolios such as railways, external affairs, and the environment.
After resigning as Prime Minister, Vajpayee became Leader of Opposition in Indian parliament until he resigned as BJP President on 21 November 2001 to join the NDA government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani’s government at the center.
Awards and honor
For his efforts toward peace and prosperity in India, Vajpayee was award India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna. He was also honor by the government of Israel for his stand on the Kashmir issue.
Atal received the Order of Lenin, the first for an Indian politician, from then-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1988 during a visit to Moscow.
He received Lal Bahadur Shastri Award for International Understanding and Peace. He has a public life that is inspiring as well as revolutionary. Therefore, his work and contributions to nation-building will live long after him.