Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Atal Bihari Vajpayee is an Indian statesman who was the eleventh Prime Minister of India.
Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Born on December 25, 1924 at Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh to Shri Krishna Bihari Vajpayee and Smt. Krishna Devi.Educated at Victoria (now Laxmi Bai) College, Gwalior and DAV College, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, Shri Vajpayee holds an M.A (Political Science) degree and has many literary, artistic and scientific accomplishments to his credit.He brings with him a long parliamentary experience spanning over four decades. He has been a Member of Parliament since 1957. He was elected to the 5th, 6th and 7th Lok Sabha and again to the 10th, 11th 12th and 13th Lok Sabha and to Rajya Sabha in 1962 and 1986. He has again been elected to Parliament from Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh for the fifth time consecutively. He is the only parliamentarian elected from four different States at different times namely UP, Gujarat, MP and Delhi.
Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee was Prime Minister of India from May 16 31, 1996 and a second time from March 19, 1998 to May 13, 2004. With his swearing in as Prime Minister, he has been the only Prime Minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to occupy the office of the Prime Minister of India through three successive mandates. Shri Vajpayee has also been the first Prime Minister since Smt. Indira Gandhi to lead his party to victory in successive elections.
2. Childhood Early Life
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was born into a middle class family in Gwalior. His father was Krishna Bihari Vajpayee, a school teacher and poet, and his mother was Krishna Devi.He attended the Saraswati Shishu Mandir and later went to Victoria College from where he graduated with distinction in Hindi, English and Sanskrit.
He enrolled at DAV College, Kanpur to complete his post graduation and earned his M.A. in Political science. He was a patriot at heart and participated in Indias struggle for freedom even as a student and edited several nationalist Hindi newspapers.
3. Political Career
He became associated with the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS), a right wing political party founded by Syama Prasad Mookerjee in 1951. He became a loyal follower of Mookerjee and supported him during his fast unto death in Kashmir in 1954.Vajpayee was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time from Balrampur (U.P.) in 1957. He proved himself to be an excellent orator and gave powerful speeches.He was made the national president of the Jana Sangh in 1968 after the death of Deendayal Upadhyaya. Over the next few years he worked tirelessly with Nanaji Deshmukh, Balraj Madhok and Lal Krishna Advani to make the Jana Sangh a prominent presence in Indian politics.In 1977, the BJS was united with the Bharatiya Lok Dal and the Socialist Party to form the Janata Party. After the victory of the Janata Party in the general elections, Vajpayee became the Minister of External Affairs in Prime Minister Morarji Desais government.The Janata Party was dissolved following Morarji Desais resignation as Prime Minister in 1979. Vajpayee, in collaboration with Lal Krishna Advani and Bhairon Singh Shekhawat formed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1980 and became the partys first president.
After the 1984 elections, when BJP was reduced to two seats, Vajpayee worked tirelessly to build the party and in the next parliamentary elections in 1989 BJP won 88 seats.By 1991, BJP had emerged as the principal opposition party and the party won 120 seats in 1991 parliamentary elections.He became the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament in 1993 and in November 1995 at a BJP conference in Mumbai, he was declared as the Prime Ministerial candidate of BJP.
4. Career as the Prime Minister
The BJP emerged the single largest party in Lok Sabha in the 1996 general elections. Vajpayee was sworn in as the Prime Minister in May 1996. However, he resigned after 13 days since BJP could not obtain a majority.He was again sworn in as the Prime Minister in 1998 after BJP emerged as the single largest party and formed the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) with other political parties. This government lasted for a little over a year when fresh elections were held.
It was during his tenure that India conducted underground nuclear tests in Pokhran in May 1998, just a month after the government came into power. These tests were regarded a national milestone.The Kargil War between India and Pakistan took place between May and July 1999. By the end of the war, the Indian Army and Air force had recaptured the areas infiltrated by the Pakistani militants. The Kargil victory cemented the reputation of Vajpayee as a strong and able leader of the nation.The BJP led NDA again emerged as the largest political alliance in the 1999 general elections in the wake of the Kargil War victory. Vajpayee was made the Prime Minister for the third time in October 1999.
He introduced many economic and infrastructural reforms like strengthening of private sectors, encouraging private research and development, bringing about privatization of certain government owned corporations, etc. His major projects were National Highway Development Project and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.U.S. President Bill Clinton paid a state visit to India in March 2000. Clintons visit to India was viewed as very significant in improving the foreign trade and economic relations between the two nations.
Vajpayees privatization campaigns were criticized by trade unions and government employees as excessive privatization was not in their favour.In 2001, he invited the Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to India with a view to improve Indo Pak relations. However, this attempt could not achieve much success for India.He launched the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in 2001, with the aim of universalization of elementary education.
The Parliament House in New Delhi was attacked in December 2001 by Pakistan trained terrorists. Investigations pointed to a conspiracy hatched in Pakistan. For a long time the threat of a full fledged war between the two nations loomed. The Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 (POTA) was enacted in the aftermath of the attack. The Vajpayee government implemented several economic reforms during 2002 03 which resulted in a record growth rate of 6 7% in the GDP. The international image of India also improving due to the rapid developments that took place in the country during this perios.Vajpayee resigned as Prime Minister in 2004 after Congress emerged as the single largest party in the general elections.He announced his retirement from active politics in 2005 and didnt contest the 2009 parliamentary elections.
5. Major Works
Nuclear tests conducted in 1998 during his reign unambiguously established India as a nuclear state and the country was able to develop a minimum credible deterrent to ward off threats to its security.The National Highways Develop Project (NHDP) and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) were two projects that were very close to his heart. NHDP involves connecting the four major cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. PMGSY is a nationwide plan to provide good all weather road connectivity to unconnected villages. He is highly respected for the economic reforms and privatization campaigns he brought about during his tenure as the Prime Minister of India. His diplomacy and leadership while handling political issues during the Kargil War and terrorist attacks further strengthened his image as a wise and capable leader of India.
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