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Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Life Support Vajpayee, 93, was admitted to AIIMS in New Delhi on June 11 with multiple complications

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FORMER Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is on life support and his condition continues to remain critical, a statement issued by the All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi said.

Vajpayee, 93, was admitted to AIIMS on June 11 with multiple complications including kidney infection and chest congestion. He has been on ventilator support since yesterday as his condition worsened.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has postponed its events, including its National Executive meeting which was scheduled to be held on August 18-19, in view of former prime minister Vajpayee’s condition.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi led his colleagues in the government and the party in visiting the hospital to check on his health. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and leaders of other political parties too have visited AIIMS since this morning.

TV channels are reporting that AIIMS Director Dr. Randeep Guleria will brief the Prime Minister’s office after a team of doctors complete the examination of the former prime minister.

Vajpayee had retired from politics in December of 2005 at the age of 81 owing to his failing health. He suffered a stroke in 2009 and gradually faded away from public life.

Vajpayee became Prime Minister in 1996 albeit for just 13 days, for eleven months in 1998-1999 and then from 1999 to 2004.

Perhaps the most moderate face in his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, he stood strongly for good relations with its neighbor Pakistan. His visit to Lahore in February of 1999 was almost immediately followed by the Kargil war.

It was under Vajpayee’s leadership that India announced its arrival in the most exclusive and elite nuclear club with the Pokhran tests in May of 1998. A bold move which saw many praising Vajpayee for strengthening India’s security and instilling national pride.

The biggest test for Vajpayee was during the communal riots in Gujarat in 2002 which saw questions being asked of his government and his party to act decisively. The riots had bothered him and he had famously advised Chief Minister Narendra Modi to follow the “Raj Dharma”.

Statesman, politician, poet and a master orator, Atal Bihari Vajpayee has many firsts to his credit: The first prime minister from the BJP, India’s first bachelor prime minister and the first president of his party.

Vajpayee was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1957 and has been a member for 10 terms. He won his last election in 2004 from Lucknow.

He was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, in 2015.

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