The Vajpayee years

A brief recap of the major events and incidents in former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s life

1924, 25 December: Born in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh

1939: Joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)

1942: Arrested in August during the Quit India Movement. Spent 23 days in prison

1947: Became a full-time RSS worker, technically a pracharak. Sent as a vistarak (probationary pracharak) to Uttar Pradesh, and started working for Deendayal Upadhyaya's newspapers

1951: Deputed to work for the newly formed Bharatiya Jana Sangh after the RSS was banned iin 1948 over the assasination of Gandhi

1954: Vajpayee and party leader Syama Prasad Mukherjee went on a fast-unto-death to protest perceived inferior treatment of non-Kashmiri Indian visitors to Kashmir.

1957: In the Lok Sabha election, Vajpayee lost the Mathura seat but won Balrampur; PM Jawaharlal Nehru predicted that he'd someday become prime minister

1968: Appointed national president of the Jana Sangh

1975-1977: Arrested along with several other opposition leaders during the Emergency

1977-1979: Is appointed India's foreign minister in Prime Minister Morarji Desai's cabinet; makes historic speech at the UNGA in Hindi

1980: Formed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) along with other Jana Sangh members

1996: BJP emerged as the single-largest party in the general election; Vajpayee became prime minister, but just for 13 days as party failed to prove majority

1998: BJP again emerged as the single largest party. This time the Vajpayee-led NDA coalition lasted for 13 months until coalition partner AIADMK, led by J Jayalalithaa, withdrew support. As PM, Vajpayee announced Operation Shakti, the second time that India conducted underground nuclear tests in Pokhran, Rajasthan, in May 1998. His second term was also witness to the Lahore Declaration and the Kargil war.

1999: Vajpayee returned as prime minister, this time for a full term, after the BJP-led NDA won 303 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha. The Kandahar hijack, the Parliament attack and the Gujarat riots tarnished his third term, which ended in 2004.

2005: Announced his withdrawal from political life

2009: Suffered a stroke. Confined to a wheel-chair. Dementia and long-term diabetes take a toll

2018, 16 August: Passes away at the All India Institute of Medical Science, New Delhi

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