Sports fraternity mourns former PM Vajpayee's demise
India's sporting fraternity, led by Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, on Thursday, joined the nation in mourning the demise of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
His death was announced by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) hospital where he was admitted on June 11 with a variety of ailments.
"#AtalBihariVajpayee ji - A leader par excellence, a daring PM who made Pokhran possible, a highly principled politician & a poet of inspirational grit who was admired across party lines. His demise is an irreparable loss, and marks the end of an era," Rathore wrote on his Twitter handle.
Batting great Tendulkar wrote, "India is at a great loss today. Shri #AtalBihariVajpayee ji's contributions to our nation have been innumerable. Thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones."
The 93-year-old BJP stalwart's condition worsened over the last 24 hours and he was put on life support systems.
"Asaman ko choo gaya, jo asmaan sa vishal tha, dharti mein simat gaya, jo mitti jaisa narm tha. Kaun hai jo Atal reh paya zindagi bhar, Atal banke wo zindagi ko paa gaya. Om Shanti #AtalBihariVajpayee ji," cricketer Virender Sehwag said on the social networking site.
Olympic medallist boxer Vijender Singh said, "One of the Greatest PM this Country has ever seen. A visionary, A poet, A statesman, A man who won over million hearts. Man who deserves nothing but respect. Bharat Ratna #AtalBihariVajpayee is no more with us. His contribution for the motherland will inspire generations to come."
Five-time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand said, "India loses one of its great leaders. “Gentle Giant” that's a wonderful way to remember him and his work. My deepest condolences . #ripvajpayee."
Vajpayee served as the Prime Minister of India on three occasions. His first term came in 1996 which lasted for 13 days. Later he was appointed as the PM for eleven months from 1998 and 1999. He then won the elections to serve a full five-year term as the Prime Minister between 1999 and 2004.
Cricketer Anil Kumble wrote, "A sad day for the country, as we lose one of our greatest leaders. #AtalBihariVajpayee contributed so much for the betterment of the country. May his soul rest in peace."
VVS Laxman said, "One of India's Most Loved Prime Minister, a great poet and a wonderful statesman. We as a nation will miss you sir #AtalBihariVaajpayee ji. Deepest condolences to admirers and loved ones."
Opener Shikhar Dhawan wrote, "My deepest condolences on the passing of our former Prime Minister Sri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ji. One of the few politicians I always respected for his honesty and devotion to the national cause. May his soul rest in peace."
The Board of Control for Cricket in India too expressed grief over the passing away of the iconic leader.
"The Indian Cricket Team and BCCI condoles the sad demise of former India Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Atalji dedicated his life in service of the nation," the Indian Cricket Board tweeted.
Fast bowler Ishant Sharma said, "Saddened to hear the demise of a Great statesman & Glorious leader, Shri Vajpayeeji. He inspired us all with his exemplary conduct... My Heartfelt tribute to the departed soul #AtalBihariVaajpayee."
Batsman Rohit Sharma wrote, "Not turning out to be a great week for India, as we lost another great leader RIP Shri #AtalBihariVaajpayee."
Photograph: PTI Photo