Atal Bihari Vajpayee


Shri Vajpayee was Prime Minister of India from May 16-31, 1996 and a second time from March 19, 1998 to May 13, 2004. With his swearing-in as Prime Minister, he has been the only Prime Minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to occupy the office of the Prime Minister of India through three successive mandates. Shri Vajpayee has also been the first Prime Minister since Smt. Indira Gandhi to lead his party to victory in successive elections.

Born on December 25, 1924 at Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh to Shri Krishna Bihari Vajpayee and Smt. Krishna Devi, Shri Vajpayee brings with him a long parliamentary experience spanning over four decades. He has been a Member of Parliament since 1957. He was elected to the 5th, 6th and 7th LokSabha and again to the 10th, 11th 12th and 13th LokSabha and to RajyaSabha in 1962 and 1986. He has again been elected to Parliament from Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh for the fifth time consecutively. He is the only parliamentarian elected from four different States at different times namely - UP, Gujarat, MP and Delhi.

Elected leader of the National Democratic Alliance, which is a pre-election coming together of political parties from different regions of the country and which enjoyed a comfortable backing and support of the elected Members of the 13th LokSabha, Shri Vajpayee was earlier elected leader of his own BharatiyaJanata Party (BJP) parliamentary party which has also again emerged as the single largest party in the 13th LokSabha as was the case in the 12th LokSabha.

Educated at Victoria (now LaxmiBai) College, Gwalior and DAV College, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, Shri Vajpayee holds an M.A (Political Science) degree and has many literary, artistic and scientific accomplishments to his credit. He edited Rashtradharma (a Hindi monthly), Panchjanya (a Hindi weekly) and the dailies Swadesh and Veer Arjun. His published works include "MeriSansadiyaYatra" (in four volumes), "MeriIkkyavanKavitayen", "SankalpKaal", "Shakti-se-Shanti", "Four Decades in Parliament" (speeches in three volumes), 1957-95, "LokSabhameinAtalji" (a collection of speeches); MrityuYaHatya", "Amar Balidan", "KaidiKaviraj Ki Kundalian" (a collection of poems written in jail during Emergency); "New Dimensions of India's Foreign Policy" (a collection of speeches delivered as External Affairs Minister during 1977-79); "Jan SanghAurMussalman"; "Sansad Mein Teen Dashak" (Hindi) (speeches in Parliament - 1957-1992 - three volumes; and "Amar AagHai" (a collection of poems) 1994.

Shri Vajpayee has participated in various social and cultural activities. He has been a Member of the National Integration Council since 1961. Some of his other associations include - (i) President, All India Station Masters and Assistant Station Masters Association (1965-70); (ii) PanditDeendayalUpadhyaySmarakSamiti (1968-84); (iii) DeenDayalDham, Farah, Mathura, U.P; and (iv) JanmabhomiSmarakSamiti, 1969 onwards.

Founder-member of the erstwhile Jana Sangh (1951), President, Bharatiya Jana Sangh (1968-1973), leader of the Jana Sangh parliamentary party (1955-1977) and a founder-member of the Janata Party (1977-1980), Shri Vajpayee was President, BJP (1980-1986) and the leader of BJP parliamentary party during 1980-1984, 1986 and 1993-1996. He was Leader of the Opposition throughout the term of the 11th LokSabha. Earlier, he was India's External Affairs Minister in the Morarji Desai Government from March 24, 1977 to July 28, 1979.

Widely respected within the country and abroad as a statesman of the genre of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, Shri Vajpayee's 1998-99 stint as Prime Minister has been characterised as 'one year of courage of conviction'. It was during this period that India entered a select group of nations following a series of successful nuclear tests at Pokharan in May 1998. The bus journey to Pakistan in February 1999 was widely acclaimed for starting a new era of negotiations to resolve the outstanding problems of the sub-continent. India's honesty made an impact on the world community. Later, when this gesture of friendship turned out to be a betrayal of faith in Kargil, Shri Vajpayee was also hailed for his successful handling of the situation in repulsing back the intruders from the Indian soil. It was during Shri Vajpayee's 1998-99 tenure that despite a global recession, India achieved 5.8 per cent GDP growth, which was higher than the previous year. Higher agricultural production and increase in foreign exchange reserves during this period were indicative of a forward-looking economy responding to the needs of the people. "We must grow faster. We simply have no other alternative" has been Shri Vajpayee's slogan focussing particularly on economic empowerment of the rural poor. The bold decisions taken by his Government for strengthening rural economy, building a strong infrastructure and revitalising the human development programmes, fully demonstrated his Government's commitment to a strong and self-reliant nation to meet the challenges of the next millennium to make India an economic power in the 21st century. Speaking from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the occasion of 52nd Independence Day, he had said, "I have a vision of India : an India free of hunger and fear, an India free of illiteracy and want."

Shri Vajpayee has served on a number of important Committees of Parliament. He was Chairman, Committee on Government Assurances (1966-67); Chairman, Public Accounts Committee (1967-70); Member, General Purposes Committee (1986); Member, House Committee and Member, Business Advisory Committee, RajyaSabha (1988-90); Chairman, Committee on Petitions, RajyaSabha (1990-91); Chairman, Public Accounts Committee, LokSabha (1991-93); Chairman, Standing Committee on External Affairs (1993-96).

Shri Vajpayee participated in the freedom struggle and went to jail in 1942. He was detained during Emergency in 1975-77.

Widely travelled, Shri Vajpayee has been taking a keen interest in international affairs, upliftment of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, women and child welfare. Some of his travels abroad include visits such as - Member, Parliamentary Goodwill Mission to East Africa, 1965; Parliamentary Delegation to Australia, 1967; European Parliament, 1983; Canada, 1987; Indian delegation to Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meetings held in Canada, 1966 and 1994, Zambia, 1980, Isle of Man 1984, Indian delegation to Inter-Parliamentary Union Conference, Japan, 1974; Sri Lanka, 1975; Switzerland, 1984; Indian Delegation to the UN General Assembly, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994; Leader, Indian Delegation to the Human Rights Commission Conference, Geneva, 1993.

Shri Vajpayee was conferred Padma Vibhushan in 1992 in recognition of his services to the nation. He was also conferred the LokmanyaTilakPuruskar and the Bharat Ratna Pt. GovindBallabh Pant Award for the Best Parliamentarian, both in 1994. Earlier, the Kanpur University honoured him with an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy in 1993.

Well known and respected for his love for poetry and as an eloquent speaker, Shri Vajpayee is known to be a voracious reader. He is fond of Indian music and dance.

Positions Held

1951 - Founder-Member, Bharatiya Jana Sangh (B.J.S)

1957 - Elected to 2nd LokSabha

1957-77 - Leader, Bharatiya Jana Sangh Parliamentary Party

1962 - Member, RajyaSabha

1966-67- Chairman, Committee on Government Assurances

1967 - Re-elected to 4th LokSabha (2nd term)

1967-70 - Chairman, Public Accounts Committee

1968-73 - President, B.J.S.

1971 - Re-elected to 5th LokSabha (3rd term)

1977 - Re-elected to 6th LokSabha (4th term)

1977-79 - Union Cabinet Minister, External Affairs

1977-80 - Founder- Member, Janata Party

1980 - Re-elected to 7th LokSabha (5th term)

1980-86- President, BharatiyaJanata Party (B.J.P.)

1980-84, 1986 and 1993-96 - Leader, B.J.P. Parliamentary Party

1986 - Member, RajyaSabha; Member, General Purposes Committee

1988-90 - Member, House Committee; Member, Business Advisory Committee

1990-91- Chairman, Committee on Petitions

1991- Re-elected to 10th LokSabha (6th term)

1991-93 - Chairman, Public Accounts Committee

1993-96 - Chairman, Committee on External Affairs; Leader of Opposition, LokSabha

1996 - Re-elected to 11th LokSabha (7th term)

16  May 1996 - 31 May 1996 - Prime Minister of India;   Minister  of   External Affairs  and  also  incharge of Ministries/Departments  of Chemicals and  Fertilizers,  Civil Supplies, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, Coal, Commerce, Communications,  Environment and Forests, Food Processing  Industries, Human Resource Development, Labour, Mines,  Non-Conventional Energy  Sources,  Personnel,  Public Grievances and  Pension, Petroleum and  Natural Gas, Planning  and Programme  Implementation,  Power, Railways,  Rural Areas  and Employment, Science and Technology, Steel,   Surface Transport, Textiles, Water Resources,Atomic Energy, Electronics, Jammu & Kashmir Affairs, Ocean Development, Space and other subjects not allocated to any other Cabinet Minister

1996-97 - Leader of Opposition, LokSabha

1997-98 - Chairman, Committee on External Affairs

1998 - Re-elected to 12th LokSabha (8th term)

1998-99 - Prime Minister of India;  Minister  of External Affairs;  and also  incharge of  Ministries/Department not specifically allocated to the charge of any Minister

1999- Re-elected to 13th LokSabha (9th term)

13 Oct.1999 to 13 May 2004- Prime Minister of India and also in charge ofthe Ministries/Departments not

specifically allocated to the charge of any Minister