Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a poet, a statesman and a man of vision. Born in Madhya
Pradesh, he was from a humble background He enjoyed politics from a very young age and graduated with a degree in political science. He had a strong grip on international politics and soon found tutelage under Shayama Prasad Mukherjee.
He joined the Hindu nationalist and ideologue in staunch opposition to the ruling Congress Party. He won his first elections in 1957 and took his battle to the Parliament. He was one of the strongest voices during the Emergency even though he had earlier called Ms. Indira Gandhi the ‘Joan of Arc of India’. He would also win elections in 1971, 77, 80, 89, 90, 99.
He also went to prison and soon after Emergency was lifted, he formed the Janata Coalition with other anti-Congress leaders led by Morarji Desai. He would go on to create the BJP party which was a political arm of RSS, Hindu nationalist organization. The new party would fail miserably in 1984 elections after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. However, the programme of anti-Muslim vitriol will gather momentum during late 80s and early 90s, bringing more political eminence to BJP.
He would go on to become Prime Minister in 1998 and would lead India’s rise as a
Nuclear power state. The two underground nuclear tests in Pokhran that year would cement India’s nuclear capability. However, India would stop its testing thereon in as a commitment for use of nuclear energy only for peace and as a deterrent.
He would also introduce sting economic changes in his third spell as Prime Minister in 1999 ushering in the influx of foreign investments. This would be his only full term of five years.
Among his various awards is Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in India and
others like Padama Vibhushan and Best Parliamentarian Award.