Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Lal Krishna Advani expressed his grief on the passing away of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Advani in a statement on Thursday said that he is deeply saddened by the demise of BJP veteran Vajpayee.
"To me, Atalji was more than a senior colleague- in fact, he was my closest friend for over 65 years," he said.
Reminiscing his old days as 'Rashtriya Swayamevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak', Advani said that his association with Vajpayee has seen days from the inception of BJP to 'dark months of Emergency' leading to ' the formation of Janata Party and later the emergence of the Bharatiya Janata Party in 1980.'
Advani further said that the former Prime Minister encouraged him and guided him throughout his life.
"Atalji will be remembered as the pioneer of the first ever stable non-Congress coalition government at the Centre and I had the privilege of working as his deputy for six years," he added.
The senior BJP leader said, "His captivating leadership qualities, mesmerising oratory, soaring patriotism and above all, his sterling humane qualities like compassion, humility and his remarkable ability to win over adversaries despite ideological differences have all had a profound effect on me in all my years in public life. I will miss Atalji immensely."
Lok Sabha Speaker and senior BJP leader Sumitra Mahajan also condoled the demise of former Prime Minister Vajpayee and referred to him as the 'star in the sky of politics'.
"He had the unique ability to bring everyone together. Even if you ask the opposition they hold a sense of respect for him," she said.
The 93-year-old Vajpayee breathed his last at 5:05 pm here on Thursday.
Announcing the demise, All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) in a press release wrote, "Shri Vajpayee was admitted in AIIMS on 11.06.2018 and was stable in the last 9 weeks under the care of a team of AIIMS doctors. Unfortunately, his condition deteriorated over the last 36 hours and he was put on life support systems. Despite the best of efforts, we have lost him today.
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