07:07 GMT09 April 2020
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    Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a member of parliament for four decades and served as Indian PM for a short term in 1996 and later from 1998-2004. In 2009 Vajpayee retired from active politics citing health issues.

    "It was Atal Ji's exemplary leadership that set the foundations for a strong, prosperous and inclusive India in the 21st century," current Prime Minister Modi said in a tweet Thursday, adding that the death of the politician became a "a personal and irreplaceable loss" for him.

    The former prime minister was admitted to a hospital earlier in June due to kidney and bronchial problems and his condition has been on the decline ever since.

    READ MORE: India to Launch Manned Space Mission by 2022, PM Declares on Independence Day

    Vajpayee founded the Indian People's Party (BJP), and became its first president, making the party second powerful political force in the country. During his second term as Indian PM he also launched peace process with Pakistan a year after a nuclear weapons tests crisis in 1998. In 2014 he has received the most prestigious civilian Indian award, the Bharat Ratna.


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