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End of an era: Nation mourns demise of Atal Bihari Vajpayee

End of an era: Nation mourns demise of Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan has spoken out in the wake of three-time Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's sad demise by extending an overture for peace between the two countries and beyond. He was one of the most gracious leaders of the nation who had a unique taste of the fine arts.

It was during his second stint as prime minister that India conducted the now infamous Pokhran II nuclear tests in 1998, setting off a nuclear arms race on the subcontinent, with Pakistan conducting rival tests within a month.

However, he was later involved in a groundbreaking peace process with Islamabad.

He was ousted in 2004 elections by the Congress Party led by Sonia Gandhi, which selected Manmohan Singh as prime minister.

Foreign policy under Vajpayee saw many innovations, particularly his attempts to reset India-Pakistan ties.

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Batsman Rohit Sharma wrote, "Not turning out to be a great week for India, as we lost another great leader RIP Shri #AtalBihariVaajpayee".

After Modi, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi also paid a visit.

He was reelected for prime minister-ship in March 1998, where he remained in the office until May 13, 2004. In his tweet, Modi also stated that Vajpayee lived for the nation and served it assiduously for decades and his death marks the end of an era.

Vajpayee passed away on Thursday in New Delhi at the age of 93. The nation will always remember.

Vajpayee avoided bedrock nationalist issues, like plans to build a Hindu temple at the site of a demolished north Indian mosque.

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Vajpayee's public response to the riots reflected his many contradictions. Despite the best efforts, we have lost him today. Few people could claim to understand what drove him.

Vajpayee never married but had a longtime companion who died in 2014 and whose daughter he adopted.

Vajpayee had battled poor health for years but his condition deteriorated sharply in recent days.

Modi's government presented Vajpayee as an icon, seeking inspiration from his political career and cashing in on his stature and popularity as a statesman acceptable across political divides. He also described the BJP stalwart as a reasoned critique in the opposition and a seeker of consensus as prime minister.

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