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Atal Bihari Vajpayee among tallest leaders of modern India: Manmohan Singh

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Vajpayee's services to our nation will be remembered for a long time to come: Dr Manmohan Singh

Senior Congress leader Manmohan Singh on Thursday said that former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee stood among the “tallest leaders” of the modern India and spent his whole life serving the country.

“I have learnt with profound sorrow about the sad demise of Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji,” former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said condoling the demise of Vajpayee in a statement.

“An excellent orator, an impressive poet, an exceptional Public Servant, an outstanding Parliamentarian and a great Prime Minister, Vajpayeeji stood among the tallest leaders of modern India, who spent his whole life serving our great country,” Singh said.

“His services to our nation will be remembered for a long time to come,” he added.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad also expressed his condolence over the death of Vajpayee saying he was a “true statesman”.

“I am deeply saddened by the sad demise of Vajpayeeji who was a great human being and a true statesman,” Azad said in a statement.

Azad said that Vajpayee never hesitated in giving full credit to his opposition party leaders whenever due. “I distinctly remember when he praised then Prime Minister Late Indira Gandhi after Indo-Pak war of 1971 and referred to her as ‘Durga’,” Azad said.

Recalling his meeting with the former Prime Minister, the Congress leader said: “I had occasions of interacting with him over the long period of his parliamentary career and had very close interaction with him when I was looking after the Parliamentary Affairs portfolio and he was the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha.”

Obituary | Atal Bihari Vajpayee: Poet, politician, pragmatist orator and statesman

“I have very happy memories of him and his passing away is a great personal loss for me. He will be greatly remembered for his prolific oratory skills, statesmanship, his relationship with leaders of other parties and outstanding contribution towards public service besides many other qualities,” Azad said.

Azad expressed his deepest sympathies for his near and dear ones and prayed to the Almighty to give strength and courage to his family in this moment.

Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjuna Kharge said India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had predicted that Vajpayee would become the Prime Minister in the future and he rose to the post.

Kharge said that Vajpayee was “Ajatshatru” who never made any enemies. “Though our ideologies were different, we used to go to listen to his speeches to know what he had to say.”

“He had lot of tolerance and met every body affectionately. He never tried to run down anybody,” Kharge said.

Congress MP and treasurer Motilal Vora also condoled the demise of Bharat Ratna Vajpayee.

“With the death of Vajpayeeji, an era of politics has ended. He commanded equal respect from his party and the opposition. And I am saddened by his demise,” Vora said in a statement.

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Congress Spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala also condoled the death of former Prime Minister and said in a tweet: “Saddened by the demise of Vajpayeeji. Indian political landscape has lost a stalwart and a statesman. Differences never prevented Vajpayeeji from walking across the aisle nor did ideological commitments deter him from upholding India’s liberal values. We pray for his soul.”

Vajpayee, a founder member of the BJP and the first non-Congress Prime Minister to complete a full term in office, died in Delhi on Thursday after prolonged illness. He was 93.