Bharat Ratna Vajpayee: Rejoicing across the political divide

It’s rarely that the president of India drives down to confer honours, but Atal Bihari Vajpayee is in a league of his own.
In a departure from protocol, President Pranab Mukherjee travelled to Mr Vajpayee’s residence at Krishna Menon Marg in Lutyen’s Delhi and presented India’s highest civilian award to the three-time prime minister of India, a living legend and the charismatic politician-statesman who towers above ideologies and partisan agendas.
A towering political personality, Mr Vajpayee, known for his dazzling oratory, formidable diplomatic skills, and political acumen, successfully led the first non-Congress government for a full five-year term. He headed the first NDA government as the 11th Prime Minister of India, first for 13 days in 1996, second time for 13 months from 1998-mid 1999, and then from 1999 to 2004.
For once, ideological and partisan bickering was out; there was rejoicing across the spectrum for the conferral of the honour on the leader-statesman who is fondly esteemed by his admirers as ‘Swadeshi Nehru.’
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who sparred with Vajpayee and his party many a time, hailed Bharat Ratna for Vajpayee, saying it is a “fitting recognition” to his wisdom, statesmanship and deep commitment to national interest.

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