Condolences Pour In As the Nation Prepares To Bid Farewell To Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee

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New Delhi: Condolences are pouring in from all quarters following former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's demise on Thursday. President Ram NathKovind, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have expressed grief at the passing away of the veteran BJP leader.

Vajpayee’s mortal remains would be cremated at the Rashtriya Smriti Sthal on the banks of Yamuna at 4 pm Friday. The final procession would start from the BJP headquarters on Deen Dayal Upadhya Marg for Mahatma Gandhi Marg.

President Kovind described Vajpayee as a true Indian statesman saying his leadership, foresight, maturity and eloquence put him in a league of his own. He said Atalji, the Gentle Giant, will be missed by one and all.

In his condolence message, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu said Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a friendly and lovable Prime Minister. He said, in his passing away, India has lost a multi-faceted jewel.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a televised address, said that the thoughts, ideas and words of former Prime Minister will always remain with people and will always inspire them. He said, in the passing away of  Atal Ji, India has lost its 'anmolratna'. Mr Modi said, the demise has marked the end of an era and it is a void which can never be filled.

The Prime Minister said, he has lost a father figure and AtalJi taught him valuable aspects about organisation and administration. He said, through his leadership and struggles, AtalJi strengthened the Jana Sangh and the BJP and took the parties to every part of the country.

Former President Pranab Mukherjee described Vajpayee as a Democrat to the core saying he had dominated the opposition space like a titan and led the government with aplomb.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Vajpayee was an excellent orator, an impressive poet, an exceptional public servant, an outstanding Parliamentarian and a great Prime Minister.

LokSabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said the nation lost a great leader. Veteran BJP leader and close colleague of the late leader, Lal Krishna Advani said, Atalji will be remembered as the pioneer of the first ever stable non-Congress coalition government at the Centre.

BJP Leader MurliManohar Joshi said Mr Vajpayee demise was his personal loss. Congress President Rahul Gandhi said India lost a great son who was loved and respected by millions. He said, Vajpayee, will be missed. Sonia Gandhi said Vajpayee's warm personality and his gift of friendship won him admirers and friends across the political spectrum and from every walk of life. She said, throughout his life, he stood for democratic values and demonstrated this commitment in all his acts whether as a parliamentarian, a cabinet minister or PM.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore said Vajpayee was a daring Prime Minister who made Pokhran possible, a highly principled politician and a poet of inspirational grit who was admired across party lines.

Other Union Ministers including, Rajnath Singh, ArunJaitley,  Ravi Shankar Prasad, Ram Vilas Paswan, condoled Vajpayee's death. Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Maharastra and others also expressed their condolences. Former J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti said the demise of Atal Bihari Vajpayee is not only a loss for the country, it is the big loss for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. She said he was the first Prime Minister to understand the agony of the state's people.

Several countries have also expressed condolence on the demise of Vajpayee. US, UK, Russia, Japan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan have condoled the demise of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The American Embassy in New Delhi in a statement said, the US grieves with India on the loss of the former prime minister. Ambassador of Russia to India NikolayKudashev said Russia mourns the death of AtalBihari Vajpayee, a great statesman.

Japanese envoy to India Kenji Hiramatsu said, he is deeply saddened by the passing away of the great leader. Hailing Vajpayee as one of the most inspiring world leaders, the envoy said the upswing in India-Japan relations was only possible by the initiatives started by the former Indian prime minister.

British High Commissioner to India, Dominic Asquith said they are saddened by the passing of former PM. He said Vajpayee was much respected in the UK as a statesman par excellence.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Vajpayee was one of the most famous sons of India. She said in a tweet that Vajpayee was highly respected in Bangladesh and it is a day of great sadness for all of us in Bangladesh.

Pakistan's Prime Minister-in-waiting Imran Khan expressed condolences saying his efforts for improvement in relations between Pakistan and India will be remembered forever.

Sri Lankan prime minister Ranil Wickrem singhe in a message said Vajpayee was a true friend of Sri Lanka and played a vital role in its stability. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksha said India has lost a great leader in his death.

Nepal's Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said in a message that Vajpayee was a visionary statesman and India and world has lost a towering political figure and Nepal a true friend and well-wisher. He extended condolences and sympathies to the bereaved family members.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement,  American people stand with the people of India as we mourn Prime Minister Vajpayee’s passing. He said, we hold the people of India in our thoughts and prayer. Pompeo said our bilateral relationship shelling along to benefit from PM Vajpayee’s vision, which helped promote expanded cooperation. He said, Vajpayee, recognized early on that US & India, based on their shared democratic values, could develop a partnership that would contribute to economic prosperity & security of the region & the world.

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