Atal Bihari Vajpayee birthday: To celebrate the 93th birthday of former Prime Minister, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) veteran and Bharat Ratna recipient Atal Bihari Vajpayee, PM Narendra Modi along with other leaders reached his residence at Krishna Menon Marg in Delhi today. The list of attendees to wish the former PM on his birthday include BJP President Amit Shah, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Vijay Goel among others. A ‘havan’ was also performed by BJP workers today where they cut a cake to celebrate his birthday.
Born on December 25, 1924, to Krishna Devi and Krishna Bihari Vajpayee in Gwalior, the Bharat Ratna recipient completed his schooling from Saraswati Shishu Mandir, Gorkhi, Bara, Gwalior and went on to Victoria College (now Laxmi Bai College), where he graduated with distinction in Hindi, English and Sanskrit. He then 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 in 1939. Influenced by Babasaheb Apte, he attended the Officers Training Camp of the RSS during 1940-44 and became a “full-time worker” in 1947, technically a pracharak.
He gave up studying law due to the partition riots, and was sent as a vistarak (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. Vajpayee’s first exposure to politics was in August 1942, when he and his elder brother Prem were arrested for 23 days during the Quit India Movement, when he was released only after giving a written undertaking, expressly declaring not to participate in any of the anti-British struggle.
In 1951, he was seconded by the RSS, along with Deendayal Upadhyaya, to work for the newly formed Bharatiya Jana Sangh, a Hindu right-wing political party associated with the RSS. 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 Mookerjee when he went on a fast-unto-death in Kashmir to protest against the perceived inferior treatment of non-Kashmiri Indian visitors to the state. Mookerjee died in prison during this strike. In 1957, Vajpayee lost to Raja Mahendra Pratap in Mathura for the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament of India, but was eventually elected from Balrampur.
A parliamentarian for over four decades, Vajpayee has been elected to the Lok Sabha (the lower house of Parliament of India) ten times, and twice to the Rajya Sabha (upper house). He also served as the Member of Parliament for Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, until 2009, when he retired from active politics due to health concerns.
On 25 December, 2014, the office of the President of India announced the Bharat Ratna award, India’s highest civilian honour, to Vajpayee. In a special gesture, the President of India conferred Bharat Ratna to Atal Bihari Vajpayee in his residence on 27 March 2015. Furthermore, the Centre under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 announced that Vajpayee’s birthday would be celebrated as Good Governance Day annually.