Vajpayee turns 85

via PTI | New Delhi published on December 25, 2008



Former
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Thursday turned 85, but there
were no birthday celebrations in view of last month’s Mumbai terror
attacks.

President Pratibha Patil was among the first to send
greetings to the BJP veteran, Rastrapathi Bhawan sources said. She sent
flowers and greetings to Vajpayee, they said.

Vice President Hamid Ansari sent flowers to the former PM’s residence, BJP sources said.

Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh drove to the octogenarian leader’s Krishna
Menon Marg residence here to wish him on his 85th birthday. Singh was
with Vajpayee for about 15 minutes.

Leader of Opposition and
Vajpayee’s longtime colleague LK Advani also went to the former Prime
Minister’s residence to express his birthday wishes, BJP sources said.

BJP
chief Rajnath Singh, senior party leader Jaswant Singh, Uttarakhand
Chief Minister BC Khanduri, former BJP president Bangaru Laxman, INLD
chief Om Prakash Chautaula and former National Security Adviser Brajesh
Mishra also wished Vajpayee.

Several other leaders from BJP, its
NDA allies and those from other parties also sent bouquets and birthday
wishes to Vajpayee, who was born on this day in 1924.

Vajpayee had expressed his desire a couple of days ago not to celebrate his birthday in view of the terror strikes in Mumbai.

Former
Delhi chief minister Madan Lal Khuarana, who met the BJP veteran
briefly, later told reporters that he had requested the former PM to
contest the coming Lok Sabha elections from Lucknow.

“He merely nodded to the suggestion and did not say anything more,” Khurana said.

Bharti Airtel chief Sunil Mittal and senior BJP leader VK Malhotra also wished Vajpayee on the ocassion.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi also send his greetings to Vajpayee.

The BJP veteran has been suffering from age-related ailments for the past two years and has kept away from public view.

Meanwhile, the residents of Prini village, known as the former PM’s second home, celebrated his birthday on a low key.

Locals
offered puja at the famous Nag Devta temple at Prini, near Manali,
praying for long life of the veteran BJP leader, village head Kundan
Kumar said.

Vajpayee used to visit Prini every summer till 2006, when his health deteriorated.

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