Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee turns 89; Modi, Advani greet him

AtalFormer Prime Minister and senior BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee turned 89. (PTI)

Former Prime Minister and senior BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee turned 89 on Wednesday with a stream of leaders wishing him on the occasion.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was among the first to greet Vajpayee on his birthday. Singh, who reached Vajpayee's 6A Krishna Menon Marg residence around 12:30 PM, remained with the BJP veteran for nearly 20 minutes.

Vajpayee's deputy in the NDA Cabinet and senior BJP leader L K Advani also wished the former PM on the occasion.

BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi also drove down to the BJP veteran's residence to wish him on the occasion.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also wished Vajpayee on his 89th birthday, praising him for his affection towards his colleagues.

"My good wishes to Vajpayeeji on his birthday. It was a pleasure working under him," Kumar told reporters here on his arrival from New Delhi.

Vajpayye has been ailing for some time now and is confined to his official residence.

Several people had been waiting since morning to greet Vajpayee on his birthday. Most of them had come from Gwalior where was born, while some had come from Lucknow, a constituency he represented in the Lok Sabha.

Besides the Gujarat Chief Minister, Chief Ministers of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh Vasundhra Raje Scindia and Shivraj Singh Chauhan also greeted Vajpayee.

BJP President Rajnath Singh, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, Deputy Speaker Kariya Munda, former party chief Nitin Gadkari, party leaders Ananth Kumar, Harsh Vardhan and Vijendra Gupta were among the other prominent people who met the former PM.

Born in the family of a humble school teacher on December 25, 1924, in Gwalior, Vajpayee began his career first as a poet, dabbled in journalism and later rose to become one of the most widely regarded political leaders of the country.

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