Rajya Sabha pays homage to Vajpayee, calls him epitome of 'politics of grace'

The Rajya Sabha (RS) on Tuesday paid homage to former Prime Minister and Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee and called him the epitome of 'politics of grace.' RS chairman and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu read out the obituary, describing Vajpayee as the "epitome of politics of grace."

The Winter Session of Parliament began on Tuesday.

Remembering Vajpayee, who died on August 16 this year, for his remarkable contribution in shaping India's foreign policy, Naidu said, "As Minister of External Affairs during 1977-79 and later as Prime Minister during 1998-2004, Vajpayee ji contributed significantly towards imparting our diplomacy and foreign policy, a sense of purpose and dynamism and laying strong foundations for economic resurgence of our country."

"Under his leadership, India's friendship enhanced with countries like China, the US, and Pakistan," Naidu said, adding "As Minister of External Affairs, Vajpayee ji visited China which resulted in breaking a new ground. During his stint as Prime Minister, then US President Bill Clinton made a historic visit to India, 22 years after the last visit by the US President, Jimmy Carter. Clinton's visit to India in the year 2000 laid the foundation for new vistas in India-US ties."

"Atal ji launched sincere and spirited initiatives to improve India-Pakistan relations. The famous Lahore declaration that followed the historic Lahore Bus Yatra in February 1999 made India and Pakistan commit to dialogue, expand trade relations and mutual friendship and envisaged a goal of de-nuclearised South Asia," he added.

Naidu further gave credit to Vajpayee for his significant initiatives to strengthen internal and external security of the country. "It was due to the expertise of Atal ji that underground nuclear testing was conducted in the Pokhran in 1998, which was acknowledged by the powerful countries. India scored a decisive victory in the Kargil War forcing the infiltrators to retreat in 1999. In the face of growing terrorism, Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) was passed in 2002 at a joint session of the Parliament, marking the country's resolve to fight terrorism," Naidu said.

Highlighting Vajpayee's efforts in developing infrastructure and connectivity of the country, Naidu said, "Atal ji brought connectivity revolution and improved connectivity through the development of national highways and the Golden Quadrilateral connecting the four metros, vibrant telecom sector and improved road and air connectivity."

"In the passing away of Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji the country has lost a visionary statesman, an erudite scholar, a distinguished parliamentarian, an able administrator, a proven leader of the masses and above all, a great human being who believed in the core Indian values of harmony and synthesis," added Naidu.