PM greets Vajpayee on turning 89

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and BJP veteran L K Advani were among a host of leaders to greet former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who turned 88 on Tuesday.

Singh drove to Vajpayee’s 6A, Krishna Menon Marg, residence and spent about 15 minutes with his predecessor who has been ailing for quite some time and confined to his home.

President Pranab Mukherjee sent his best wishes to Vajpayee along with a bouquet of flowers. Besides Singh, BJP president Nitin Gadkari, BJP leaders L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Deputy Speaker Kariya Munda were among Vajpayee’s early visitors.“He received us with a smile,” BJP chief spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters after greeting Vajpayee.

Born in the family of a humble school teacher on December 25, 1924, in Gwalior, Vajpayee began his career first as a poet, dabbled in journalism and later rose to become one of the most widely regarded political leaders of the country.

During his six-year tenure as Prime Minister between 1998 and 2004, Vajpayee took the bold step of conducting the nuclear tests at Pokhran in May 1998. He is also considered a guru of coalition politics, who successfully led a government supported by as many as 24 political parties.

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