Fast Facts Atal Behari Vajpayee
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Here’s a look at the life of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former prime minister of India.


Birth date: December 25, 1924

Death date: August 16, 2018

Birth place: Gwalior, India

Birth name: Atal Bihari Vajpayee (some sources spell it Behari)

Father: Krishna Behari, a teacher

Mother: Krishna Devi

Education: Victoria College (Laxmi Bai College); Dayan and Anglo-Vedic College, M.A. in Political Science

Religion: Hindu

Other Facts

Vajpayee’s family is of the Brahmin caste in India.

He is a critically acclaimed poet and speaker.

He is considered a champion of women’s rights and favors the eradication of the caste system.

Vajpayee was elected to India’s Lok Sabha (House of the People) a record nine times and elected to the Rajya Sabha (House of the States) two times. He served as India’s prime minister three times.

In his teens, joined Hindu nationalist group, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).


1942 - Detained for 24 days for activities with the RSS.

1951 - Joins the Jana Sangh, a conservative political party.

1957 - Becomes leader of the Jana Sangh.

1957 - Elected to the People’s Assembly, or Lok Sabha.

1962 - Elected to a six-year term in the Rajya Sabha.

1975 - Jailed along with other dissident politicians during a declared state of emergency.

1977-1979 - Serves as the minister for external affairs when the Jana Sangh Party comes into power as the Janata Party.

1980 - Helps found and becomes president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

1984 - Loses his seat in the People’s Assembly.

1991 - Wins a seat in the People’s Assembly.

1996 - Runs as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. Vajpayee wins, but his party’s government lasts only 13 days before it is ousted.

March 19, 1998 - After the BJP assembles a winning coalition, Vajpayee is sworn in as prime minister.

April 17, 1999 - Resigns after his government loses a parliamentary vote of confidence.

October 13, 1999 - Sworn in again as prime minister after his party and its allies regain control.

March 21, 2000 - Along with US President Bill Clinton, Vajpayee signs a statement on “US-India Relations: A Vision for the 21st Century,” while hosting Clinton in New Delhi. The document proposes many new endeavors, including a “pledge to reduce impediments to bilateral trade and investment, and to expand commerce between the two nations.”

September 14, 2000 - Vajpayee addresses a joint session of the US Congress. He states that his visit to the United States has “consolidated relations between the world’s two largest democracies and marked a new era in bilateral and global affairs.”

October 2000 - Undergoes knee replacement surgery.

May 13, 2004 - Resigns after his party loses seats to rivals in parliamentary elections.

December 29, 2005 - Announces his retirement from politics.

February 2009 - Hospitalized in India with a respiratory infection.

March 1, 2009 - Released from the hospital.

December 25, 2014 - Vajpayee’s 90th birthday is observed nationally as Good Governance Day.

March 27, 2015 - Prime Minister Narendra Modi confers India’s highest civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna award, upon Vajpayee.

August 16, 2018 - Vajpayee dies in New Delhi at the age of 93.

October 2018 - Four Himalayan peaks near Gangotri glacier are named after Vajpayee.