Former Indian PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee in critical condition

Vajpayee's condition worsens, put on life-support system: AIIMS..

Vajpayee, a journalist and poet-turned-politician, is credited with helping lay the foundations for the meteoric rise of the far-right BJP which governs India today.

Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra also recalled his meetings with the late former prime minister.

Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee speaks during a news conference in the eastern Indian university town of Shantiniketan, northwest of Calcutta April 2, 2004. He returned to power in 1998 for 13 months after forging an alliance of 22 parties, mostly regional power brokers with disparate local appeal. He gave the go-ahead for underground nuclear tests in 1998 believing nuclear weapons would be deterrent against China and Pakistan.

This apart, the national flag will be flown at half-mast as a sign of mourning for Vajpayee who is considered as a great visionary and "Bhishma Pitamah of Indian Politics". "Vajpayee, as a foreign minister, took responsibility of improving India-Pakistan ties", ANI quoted him as saying.

But the next year, when Islamabad sent fighters across the cease-fire line that divides the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir between the nations, Vajpayee resisted military pressure to launch a counter-attack.

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After 11 weeks and more than 1,000 deaths, Pakistan ordered the fighters to withdraw.

Former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a Hindu nationalist who set off a nuclear arms race with rival Pakistan but later reached across the border to begin a groundbreaking peace process, died Thursday after a long illness.

Mr Vajpayee was one of the few leaders of the BJP to express anguish when hundreds of Muslims were killed rioting in 2002 in the western state of Gujarat, which Mr Modi governed. Leaders of the BJP were gathering at his home in New Delhi to pay their respects.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vajpayee's former deputy LK Advani, BJP President Amit Shah, and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal have visited AIIMS over the last two days to enquire about Vajpayee's health.

Reacting to the sad development which has shocked the country, Sudheendra Kulkarni, Ex-aide to former PM, said he worked with Kulkarni for 6 years, he treated everyone with respect, he further said that Vajpayee had asserted that the Kashmir dispute cannot be solved constitutionally, and only by the boundaries of humanity. His funeral is to be held Friday afternoon.

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