NEW DELHI – Former prime minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away on Thursday at a hospital in capital New Delhi, according to reports in India media.
The 93-year-old was admitted to All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on 11 June this year in a critical condition and had been at the facility since then. Vajpayee was suffering from urinary tract infection, lower respiratory tract infection and kidney problems.
“Atal Bihari Vajpayee has been admitted for the last nine weeks at AIIMS. His condition has worsened over the last 24 hours,” a press statement issued by AIIMS on Wednesday said. “His condition is critical and he is on life support system,” it further said.
A team of eight doctors was actively involved in the treatment of the three-time prime minister.
The BJP leader was the oldest living former Indian prime minister. Vajpayee had undergone knee replacement surgery at Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai in 2001 and suffered a stroke in 2009 that impaired his speech. He was also suffering from diabetes and dementia.
A founding member of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, a precursor of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and a parliamentarian for four decades, Vajpayee is the first non-Congress leader to have completed a five-year term (1999-2004) as India’s prime minister.
During his second term, from 1998 to 1999, India conducted the second Pokhran nuclear tests (May 1998) and Vajpayee attended the Lahore summit (February 1999) where he travelled to Pakistan in a bus for establishing full-fledged diplomatic relations with the country.
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance returned to power in the aftermath of the Kargil war with 303 seats in the Lok Sabha, and Vajpayee was chosen prime minister again.
Vajpayee never married and has an adopted daughter, Namita.