Bharat Ratna, Atal Bihari Vajpayee passes away at age of 93

Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee continues to be critical and on life support a bulletin released by AIIMS on Thursday said

Unfortunately, his condition has worsened over the past 24 hours.

However, Mr Vajpayee followed this up with a peace process with then Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

People of all faiths in his "karam bhoomi" Lucknow held special prayers for his long life.

He said Vajpayee's death has created a vacuum in the region's political arena. "Despite the best efforts, we have lost him today", AIIMS said in a statement.

Prime minister-in-waiting Imran Khan Thursday extended condolences over the demise of Vajpayee.

Vajpayee again became the Prime Minister in March 1998 but his government fell 13 months later on the floor of the Lok Sabha losing by one vote in the confidence motion after AIADMK headed by the late J.Jayalalithaa withdrew support to the BJP.

The former Prime Minister was admitted in the hospital after complaining of chest congestion, his urine output was on the lower side in June and also kidney tract infection.

"Today India lost a great son", tweeted Rahul Gandhi, leader of the opposition Congress party, adding that Vajpayee was "loved and respected by millions".

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The Bharatiya Janata Party has postponed its national executive meeting in view of Atal Bihari Vajpayee's deteriorating health condition, News18 reported.

A similar train of thought was conveyed by The Washington Post as well in their obituary titled 'Atal Bihari Vajpayee, prime minister who made India a nuclear power, dies at 93'.

Earlier in the evening, Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani was also seen at AIIMS. Vajpayee was the first non Congress prime minister to serve a full five-year term. Guleria has served as personal physician to Vajpayee for over three decades.

Vajpayee also improved relations with Beijing, officially recognizing Tibet as part of China.

In the 1999 general elections, the BJP-led NDA won 303 seats out of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha.

Many paid solemn visits to the ailing Vajpayee in his final moments on Thursday, including Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

In 2015, the government honored him with the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, while his Decenber 25 birthday was declared "Good Governance Day" in a tribute to his leadership.

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