Former Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee
would have been celebrating his 97th birthday on December 25 had he been alive
today. The renowned statesman of the country passed away three years back on
August 16. Vajpayee served India as its Prime Minister thrice – 1996, 1998-99
and a full-term from 1999 to 2004.

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Vajpayee was a multi-faceted personality.
He was known as the “man of the masses”. Born on December 25, 1924, in Gwalior
in present-day Madhya Pradesh, Vajpayee was also known for his oratory skills
and writing poems. 

Vajpayee, during his illustrious political
career, held several important portfolios, including the foreign ministry. In
1980, Vajpayee co-founded the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), along with a close
associate and, later, his deputy PM, Lal Krishna Advani.

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Here are five interesting facts about the
former prime minister of India:

Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the recipient of Padma
Vibhushan and India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna.

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Vajpayee served the Lok Sabha, the lower
house of parliament, for 10 terms, which began in 1957 and concluded in 2009.
He was the first head of government from outside the Congress party to serve a
full five-year term.

An orator par excellence, Vajpayee had
become famous as India’s External Affairs minister in Prime Minister Morarji
Desai’s government during which he delivered a widely acclaimed speech at the
United Nations General Assembly in Hindi.

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He was not just a politician but took an
active interest in poetry as well. In 1999, he collaborated with veteran Ghazal
singer Jagjit Singh and released an album named ‘Nayi Disha’, where Vajpayee
narrated his poems and Singh sang them.

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Since 2014, when the BJP came to power at the Centre, Vajpayee’s birthday has been celebrated as Good Governance Day to recognise his developmental work for the nation.