1. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was born on December 25, 1924 to  Krishna Devi and Krishna Bihari Vajpayee in a middle-class Brahmin family in Gwalior.


2. He served country as 11th Prime Minister from 1998 to 2004. Vajpayee was the first Prime Minister from outside Congress to complete a full five-year tenure.

3. A Parliamentarian for over four decades, Vajpayee was elected to the Lok Sabha nine times and twice to the Rajya Sabha. He also represented Lucknow int the Parliament until 2009, when he retired from active politics due to health concerns.

4. Vajpayee was one amongst the founder members of erstwhile Bharatiya Jana Sangh which he also headed.

IN PICS: Rare pics of Indian 'Ratna' and former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee


5. He also served as External Affairs Minister in Morarji Desai Cabinet. After the Janata Party government, Vajpayee revived the Jana Sangh as the Bharatiya Janata Party in 1980.


6. He joined Arya Kumar Sabha of Gwalior, the youth wing of the Arya Samaj. Later, he became the general secretary of organisation in 1944.

7. He also joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as a swayamsevak in 1939. Influenced by Babasaheb Apte, he attended the officers training camp of RSS during 1940-44 and became a "full-time worker" in 1947.

8. He gave up studying law due to the partition riots. He was sent as a vistarak (probationary pracharak) to Uttar Pradesh where he quickly began working for the newspaper of Deendayal Upadhyaya,

9. Vajpayee has remained a bachelor in his entire life. However, he adopted daughter Namita.


10.
Vajpayee's first exposure to politics was in August 1942, when he and his elder brother Prem were arrested for 23 days during the Quit India movement.

11. In 1951, he along with Deendayal Upadhyaya started working for the newly formed Bharatiya Jana Sangh, a political party affiliated with the RSS. He was appointed as a national secretary of the party in charge of the northern region.

12. By virtue of his great oratorical and organizational skills, he became the face of the Jana Sangh. After the death of Deendayal Upadhyaya, he became the national president of Jana Sangh in 1968 and along with Nanaji Deshmukh, Balraj Madhok and LK Advani led the party to national prominence.

13. Vajpayee was arrested along with several other Opposition leaders during the Internal Emergency imposed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi during 1975 to 1977.


14.
In 1977, heeding the call of social reformer Jayaprakash Narayan for all the Opposition parties to unite against the Congress, Vajpayee merged the Jana Sangh into the newly formed grand-alliance Janata Party.

15. Following Janata Party's victory in the 1977 general elections, he became External Affairs  Minister in Prime Minister Morarji Desai Cabinet. 

16. The Kargil war took place in 1999 when Vajpayee was Prime Minister of the country.

17. In December 2005, Vajpayee announced his retirement from active politics, declaring that he would not contest in the next general elections. In a famous statement at the BJP's silver jubilee rally at Mumbai's historic Shivaji Park, Vajpayee announced that "Henceforth, Lal Krishna Advani and Pramod Mahajan will be BJP's Ram and Laxman.”

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