Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman, M Venkaiyah Naidu commemorated the former prime minister and BJP leader, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, as the nation celebrates its 97th birth anniversary of the ‘man of masses’ today, December 25.
“One of the tallest Indian leaders, Atalji was an eminent parliamentarian, able administrator, prolific writer, mesmerising orator and above all, a great human being,” the Vice President Secretariat tweeted, quoting Naidu.
Remembering the 'man of the masses', former Prime Minister, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his Jayanti today.
— Vice President of India (@VPSecretariat) December 25, 2021
Prime minister Narendra Modi also paid his tribute to the veteran leader. “Remembering Atal Ji on his Jayanti. We are inspired by his rich service to the nation. He devoted his life to making India strong and developed. His development initiatives positively impacted millions of Indians”, Modi tweeted on Saturday in honour of Vajpayee.
Born on December 25, 1924, as the first-ever leader from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to have become the nation’s Prime Minister. He served as Prime Minister thrice — briefly in 1996, and then for two terms between 1998 and 2004.
The government in 2014 declared that Vajpayee’s birthday, 25 December, would be honoured as Good Governance Day. In 2015, he was conferred India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, by the president of India, Pranab Mukherjee.
“If India is not secular, then India is not India at all”, Vajpayee once said. Speaking at a meeting of the scheduled caste community, Atal Ji had said: “Na hum Manuvaadi hain, na brahmanvadi hain, ham samvidhaanvadi hain, Isilye hum Ambedakaravadi hain”. Translated, this reads: “We are neither Manuvadi, nor Brahminical. We are Constitutionalists, and, that is why we follow the principles espoused by [BR] Ambedkar”.
He is remembered as a symbol of peace, development and equality. After the Pokhran tests in 1998, Atal Bihari Vajpayee added Jai Vigyan (Hail Science) to the slogan to underline the importance of knowledge in India’s progress.