President Droupadi Murmu on Wednesday paid floral tributes to Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his fifth death anniversary at the 'Sadaiv Atal' memorial in Delhi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar, Home Minister Amit Shah, and Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, too, laid floral tributes at the memorial of the saffron stalwart, who was conferred posthumously with the country's highest civilian honour, Bharat Ratna.
Significantly, the BJP, for the first time, invited fellow partners in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to the event to pay tributes to the former Prime Minister at the Sadaiv Atal Memorial.
Among the partner leaders of the NDA at the event were former Bihar chief minister Jeetan Ram Manjhi, Tamil Manila Congress leader GK Vasan, AIADMK's Thambi Durai, Apna Dal leader Anupriya Patel, NCP leaders Praful Patel and Agatha Sangama, among others.
Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla and Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh, from the Nitish Kumar-led JDU, also paid floral tributes to the former PM on his death anniversary.
Also, significantly, Vajpayee's foster daughter Namita Kaul Bhattacharya was also laid floral tributes at the memorial of the departed leader.
To further shore up and strengthen the NDA, with an eye on next year's Lok Sabha elections, the BJP has been holding political events, be it the meeting of the partners in the ruling alliance at the Centre earlier this year or the one to mark the 25th of the NDA government.
The meetings are aimed at fostering unity among the NDA partners and cultivating a positive working relationship.
On August 11, the BJP organised a workshop for NDA spokespersons.
“The objective of this workshop was to work collectively to ensure a strong performance in next year's Lok Sabha elections," a party source told ANI.
Earlier, PM Modi held a series of 11 meetings with NDA MPs from different states — on July 31 August 2,3,8, and 9 — during which he offered important suggestions and advice to the partner leaders ahead of next year's general elections.
One of the BJP's tallest leaders, Vajpayee took all the NDA partners along during his three terms in the country's highest office and exemplified through his leadership the successful management of a coalition rule.
His visionary leadership and strategic acumen not only shaped the BJP's image during his prime ministerial tenure but also helped build the party's stocks from scratch.
Born in Gwalior in 1924, Vajpayee was the face of the BJP for decades and was the first non-Congress prime minister to have served a full term in office.
He served as the Prime Minister of India from May 16, 1996, to June 1, 1996, and again from 19 March 1998 to 22 May 2004. He also served as India's External Affairs Minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister Moraji Desai from 1977 to 1979. He passed away at AIIMS Hospital in Delhi on August 16 in 2018.
After coming to power in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in order to honour the former Prime Minister and Bharat Ratna recipient, declared that December 25 would be celebrated as Good Governance Day every year, his birthday.