Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday expressed grief over the death of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, hailing him as "Ajaatshatru of politics" and a source of inspiration for his generation.
Naidu called Vajpayee an "orator and great personality with a sensitive heart of a poet". He said Vajpayee was a "fantastic wordsmith" and with his civilised dialogue he enriched Parliament's glory.
Vajpayee, whose politics of moderation in a hardline party propelled the BJP to power for the first time in the 1990s, died on Thursday here following a prolonged illness at the age of 93.
A philosopher and a statesman, Vajpayee never hesitated to speak from his heart when there were larger concerns, Naidu said.
"Overwhelmed with a surge of memories of venerable Atalji. Only these memories will fill the void now left behind by him," Naidu said in a tweet.
The Vice President added: "My association and bonding with Vajpayee has been deeply enriching and transformative. I joined politics because of Shri Vajpayee's speeches that I heard while I was in ABVP. I used to be such a fan of his from my college days.
"He was a real 'Ajaatshatru' who got along with people from all sections. He was an able leader and provided a stable government. He practised politics of principles and infused values into politics.
"During my early days in politics, I remember how we all fondly used to call him, 'Tharuna Hriday Samrat', (a leader with a young heart). He was efficient and affable, bold and convivial."
In his death, the country lost a "multi-faceted 'Ratna', a diamond", he said.
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