President writes to Vajpayee’s daughter

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New Delhi, Aug 17 (IANS) President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday wrote to Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s foster daughter to condole the former Prime Minister’s death and recounted incidents that made Vajpayee a “Renaissance man of Indian politics”.

“My condolences at the passing of Atal Bihari Vajpayee; my heartfelt emotions are with you and others in the family in this moment of profound tragedy. Atalji’s death is, of course, a personal loss for you and others at home but it is also a personal loss for me,” Kovind said in his letter to Namita Kaul Bhattacharya.

Kovind recounted how Vajpayee’s charisma inspired him to join politics after giving up his legal career.

“It was his stature and dignity that attracted me to public life, as I gave up the legal profession to become his colleague. Working with him was an unforgettable experience. Years later, when I called on him after being elected the President of India, he was bedridden, but responded as only he could with a movement of his eyes. Silently, I felt, he blessed me,” Kovind said.

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Vajpayee, who passed away at AIIMS here on Thursday at the age of 93, was cremated on Friday with full state honours at the Rashtriya Smriti Sthal, where people turned out in the tens of thousands to pay tribute.

Kovind, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi led political leaders cutting across party lines and foreign dignitaries in bidding adieu to the departed leader.

Calling Vajpayee a “Renaissance man of Indian politics”, Kovind recounted Vajpayee’s “decisive leadership” and the innumerable roles he played in people’s lives.

“Atalji’s loss has also been felt in millions of homes across the country. He was our much loved former Prime Minister, a national leader of rare distinction and a statesman of modern India.

“In his long and distinguished public career, he touched innumerable lives in innumerable ways — as a freedom fighter and an intellectual, as a writer and a poet, as a parliamentarian and an administrator, and finally as Prime Minister. He was truly the ‘Renaissance man of Indian politics’,” Kovind said.

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“The Bharat Ratna conferred on him in 2015 was a fitting manifestation of India’s affection and gratitude. The loss of this large-hearted, larger-than-life leader will be sensed not only in India but across the world,” he said.

–IANS

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