In pics: Narendra Modi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee's special moments

India's Anmol Ratan

Expressing sadness on demise of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, PM Modi said that with Vajpayee's death, India has lost an 'Anmol Ratna'. PM Modi said the BJP patriarch lived for the nation and served it assiduously for decades. "Atal Ji was a 'Jan Nayak', an extraordinary orator, journalist, statesman and more than anything a true son of India," he said on his blog.

Formation of new India

While noting that it was Vajpayee's exemplary leadership that had laid the foundations for a strong, prosperous and inclusive India in the 21st century, he said: "Atal Ji's demise has marked the end of an era of democracy and leadership."

Orator, poet and a perfect leader

Talking about his brilliance and leadership qualities, Modi said he was ahead of the times. "He could switch from disarming humour to a lofty vision with ease, with a rare ability to connect with people naturally, to stir them to self-belief and to a higher cause. Sharply perceptive, he could summarise the most complex issues and discussions in a single sentence or question," the prime minister noted.

Feats as a parliamentarian

Praising his efforts as an opposition leader, Modi said his struggle against Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi and the way he represented his party defined the spirit of democracy in India. "He was firm in his political beliefs and always accommodating and respectful of other points of view. He had set the standards of debate in Parliament."

On reviving Indian economy

"He rescued the economy from the morass of the mid-1990s, when political instability at home and an uncertain global environment had threatened to derail a still incipient economic reforms process. He sowed the seeds of much of the economic success that we have experienced over the past two decades. For him, growth was a means to empower the weakest and mainstream the marginalised," Modi said.
Futuristic policies, ahead of times

Lauding Vajpayee's futuristic economic policies and reforms, Modi said: "His thrust on next-generation infrastructure particularly roads and telecom contributed to our country's economic as well as social empowerment."

India as a global force

PM Modi said Vajpayee worked hard to strengthen India's place in the world. "He overcame the hesitation of our nation, the resistance of the world and threat of isolation to make India a nuclear weapons power. It was not a decision he took lightly, but one he knew was of paramount importance in the face of mounting challenges to India's security. No longer would India's security be vulnerable. At that moment of surge in national pride, his was a voice of restraint and responsibility."

India in post-Cold War era

Lauding his efforts in transforming "five decades of estrangement with the US" into an enduring strategic partnership, Modi said: "It is his legacies of creating strategic capabilities, promoting stronger economic growth, undertaking multi-directional diplomacy and harnessing of diaspora energies that India is respected across the world." He added that he also steered India's friendship with a new post-Soviet Russia through a strategic partnership in 2000.

Sino-India ties

Modi said with China, he made the boldest move for peace in an effort to overcome the burdens of a difficult past by establishing the mechanism of Special Representatives for boundary talks. "Atal Ji was firm that these two ancient civilisations - which are rising powers - can work together to shape the global future continues to guide my thinking."

An ideal, guru and role model

PM Modi said the BJP patriarch was his guru and a role model who inspired him deeply. He recalled that Vajpayee who had entrusted him with the responsibilities of both Gujarat and later at the national level. "It was he who called me one evening in October 2001, and told me to go to Gujarat as the chief minister. The faith he had in me was humbling."