Atal Bihari Vajpayee (pronunciation [əʈəl bɪhaːɾiː ʋaːdʒpai]; 25 December 1924 – 16 August 2018) was an Indian politician who served three terms as the Prime Minister of India: first for a term of 13 days in 1996, then for a period of 13 months from 1998 to 1999, and finally, for a full term from 1999 to 2004. A member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), he was the first Indian prime minister who was not a member of the Indian National Congress party to have served a full five-year term in office.
Morarji Desai, the chosen leader of the alliance, became the prime minister. Vajpayee served as the Minister of External Affairs, or foreign minister, in Desai's cabinet. As foreign minister, Vajpayee became the first person in 1977 to deliver a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in Hindi.Vajpayee resigned from his post in 1979.
The Janata Party collapsed soon after Desai resigned as Prime Minister in 1979. The erstwhile members of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh came together to form the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1980, with Vajpayee as its first President.The 1984 general elections were held in the wake of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's assassination by her Sikh bodyguards. While he had won the 1977 and the 1980 elections from New Delhi, Vajpayee shifted to his home town Gwalior for the election.
Vidya Razdan was initially tipped to be the Congress (I) candidate. Instead, Madhavrao Scindia, scion of the Gwalior royal family, was brought in on the last day of filing nominations. Vajpayee lost to Scindia, managing to secure only 29% of the votes.Under Vajpayee, the BJP moderated the Hindu-nationalist position of the Jana Sangh, emphasising its connection to the Janata Party and expressing support for Gandhian Socialism.
The ideological shift did not bring it success: Gandhi's assassination generated sympathy for the Congress, leading to a massive victory at the polls. The BJP won only two seats in parliament. Vajpayee offered to quit as party president following BJP's dismal performance in the election, but stayed in the post until 1986. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1986 from Madhya Pradesh, and was briefly the leader of the BJP in parliament.
In 1986 L. K. Advani took office as president of the BJP. Under him, the BJP returned to a policy of hardline Hindu nationalism.
It became the political voice of the Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir Movement, which sought to build a temple dedicated to the Hindu deity Rama in Ayodhya. The temple would be built at a site believed to be the birthplace of Rama after demolishing a 16th-century mosque, called the Babri Masjid, which then stood there. The strategy paid off for the BJP; it won 86 seats in the Lok Sabha in the 1989 general election, making its support crucial to the government of V. P.
Singh. In December 1992, a group of religious volunteers led by members of the BJP, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), tore down the mosque. The BJP's role in the movement led to major political gains.
Vajpayee was sworn in as the 10th Prime Minister of India, but the BJP failed to muster a majority among members of the Lok Sabha. Vajpayee resigned after 13 days when it became clear that he did not have enough support to form a government.
He was appointed as a national secretary of the party in charge of the Northern region, based in Delhi. He soon became a follower and aide of party leader Syama Prasad Mukherjee. In 1954, Vajpayee was with Mukherjee when the latter went on a hunger strike in Kashmir to protest the perceived inferior treatment of non-Kashmiri Indian visitors to the state. Mookerjee died in prison during this strike.
In the 1957 Indian general election, Vajpayee contested elections to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Indian parliament. He lost to Raja Mahendra Pratap in Mathura, but was elected from Balrampur. In the Lok Sabha his oratorial skills so impressed Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru that he predicted that Vajpayee would someday become the Prime Minister of India.Vajpayee's oratorial skills won him the reputation of being the most eloquent defender of the Jana Sangh's policies.
After the death of Deendayal Upadhyaya, the leadership of the Jana Sangh passed to Vajpayee. He became the national president of the Jana Sangh in 1968, running the party along with Nanaji Deshmukh, Balraj Madhok, and L. K. Advani.
In 1934, Atal Bihari was admitted to AVM School Barnagar Distt Ujjain after his father joined as headmaster. He spoke about his 'lifechanging moment’ at a public rally on the 1996 Lok Sabha election trail. He said “But I learned a lesson that changed my life. I took a pledge I’d never rote-learn a speech.
It was my first speech at AVM (Anglo Vernacular Middle) School,”. He subsequently attended Gwalior's Victoria College (now Laxmi Bai College) and graduated with distinction in Hindi, English and Sanskrit. He completed his post-graduation with an M.A.
in Political Science from DAV College, Kanpur, and was awarded a first-class degree.His activism started with Arya Kumar Sabha of Gwalior, the youth wing of the Arya Samaj, of which he became the general secretary in 1944. He also joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as a swayamsevak, or volunteer, in 1939. Influenced by Babasaheb Apte, he attended the Officers Training Camp of the RSS during 1940–44 and became a pracharak, RSS terminology for a full-time worker, in 1947.
He gave up studying law due to the partition riots. He was sent as a vistarak, a probationary pracharak, to Uttar Pradesh and quickly began working for the newspapers of Deendayal Upadhyaya, Rashtradharma (a Hindi monthly), Panchjanya (a Hindi weekly) and the dailies Swadesh and Veer Arjun.