President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday unveiled a portrait of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the Central Hall of Parliament in the presence of Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Speaking on the occasion, the President recalled how the various plans and policies introduced by Vajpayee – a Bharat Ratna awardee – helped in the development of the country.
“Atal-ji will always be counted among the tallest leaders in Indian politics. He has set an example for all with his simplicity and dignity in accepting both victory and defeat in politics,” the President said.
“He set examples of decisive leadership in challenging times with 1998 Pokhran tests and 1999 Kargil War,” the President added.
In his message, PM Modi said that the portrait of Vajpayee, counted among the tallest leaders in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), will continue to “inspire and bless us”.
“If we start talking about the goodness of Atal-ji, it will take hours and hours. Atal-ji had a long political career; a large part of that career was spent in Opposition. Yet he continued raising issues of public interest and never ever deviated from his ideology,” the PM said.
Praising the oratory skills of the former Prime Minister, Modi said that “there was power in Atal-ji’s speech and there was equal power in Atal-ji’s silence”.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said that Vajpayee will be remembered because “there was criticism in his words for opposition but in his heart, there was no anger against opposition”.
Vajpayee’s life-size portrait is the 25th in the Central Hall of Parliament. Portraits of other leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi grace the Hall.
The veteran BJP leader served three terms as the Prime Minister – first for a period of 13 days in 1996, then for 13 months from 1998 to 1999, and a full term from 1999 to 2004.
He passed away on 16 August in Delhi at the age of 93.
Vajpayee’s birth anniversary, which falls on 25th December, is celebrated as Good Governance Day across the country.
On the eve of his 94th birth anniversary, PM Modi a commemorative Rs 100 coin to honour the late leader.