Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away on August 16 at 5.05pm. India mourns

New Delhi: Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for over nine weeks, passed away on Thursday, an official statement from the premier medical institute said. The 93-year-old veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader was in a critical condition and was continuously on advanced life support. His medical condition deteriorated in the last 48 hours, the doctors said.

“It is with profound grief that we inform about the sad demise of Former Prime Minister of India, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee at 05:05pm on 16.08.2018,” said AIIMS in a medical bulletin.

“Shri Vajpayee was admitted in AIIMS on 11.06.2018 and was stable in the last 9 weeks under the care of a team of AIIMS doctors. Unfortunately, his condition deteriorated over the last 36 hours and he was put on life support systems. Despite the best of efforts, we have lost him today. We join the Nation in deeply mourning this great loss,” AIIMS added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited the hospital twice in 24 hours to enquire about his health condition. After Vajpayee’s medical condition deteriorated on Wednesday, several politicians went to visit him. Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K Advani, BJP president Amit Shah, BJP national spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain and Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu were among those who visited the ailing leader on Thursday before his demise.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee cancelled her work to visit Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Thursday. Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Jitendra Singh and BJP leader Bhupender Yadav reached Vajpayee’s house on Thursday afternoon. Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also came down to Delhi to visit Vajpayee.

Several people across India arranged religious prayers for the ailing leader’s well being. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech on Wednesday from the ramparts of Red Fort in Delhi also mentioned about Vajpayee’s approach towards the Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). “Regarding J&K, the path shown by Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji is the right one. We want to move ahead on that road. Vajpayeeji said Insaniyat, Jamhuriyat, Kashmiriyat (humanism, democracy, Kashmiriyat)—with these three basic elements we want to develop Jammu & Kashmir,” Modi said in his speech.

“Whether it is Ladakh or Jammu or Srinagar valley, we want balanced development where an ordinary person’s aspirations are fulfilled, infrastructure is strengthened; we want to move ahead with brotherhood in our hearts. We do not want to move on the road of bullets and abuses, we want to move ahead with love and affection with the Kashmiri people who have stood with us in patriotic fervour,” he said.

Vajpayee was admitted to AIIMS following respiratory and kidney problems around 11.30 AM on 11 June. He was diagnosed with urinary tract infection, low urine output and chest congestion. Vajpayee’s health was a cause of concern for the saffron party. He had undergone a knee replacement surgery at Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai in 2001 and had suffered a stroke in 2009 that had impaired his speech. He was also suffering from diabetes and dementia. He had gradually disappeared from public life after movement became limited. Vajpayee was born on December 25, 1924 in Gwalior.

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