Vajpayee a towering figure who stood for democratic ideals, says Sonia Gandhi

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New Delhi, Aug 17: UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Thursday described former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as a “towering figure” who stood for democratic values and demonstrated this commitment in all his acts.
Expressing sadness over his demise, the former Congress chief said his warm personality and gift of friendship won him admirers and friends across the political spectrum and every walk of life.
“I am deeply saddened by the passing away of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee….His death leaves behind a huge void. I join millions of our fellow Indians in mourning his loss and pray for the departed soul,” she said in her condolence message.
“Shri Vajpayee was a towering figure in our national life. Throughout his life, he stood for democratic values and demonstrated this commitment in all his acts, whether as a parliamentarian, a cabinet minister, or Prime Minister of India. He was a spell-binding orator, a leader of great vision, a patriot to the core for whom the national interest was paramount,” she said.
“But above all, he was a man with a very large heart and a real spirit of magnanimity. One saw that in all his interactions — with other political parties and their leaders, with foreign governments, with coalition partners, and indeed with his own political colleagues, whom he always treated with respect and courtesy,” she added.
Former PM Manmohan Singh called Vajpayee an “excellent orator, an impressive poet, an exceptional public servant, an outstanding parliamentarian and a great PM”. “He stood among the tallest leaders of modern India, who spent his whole life serving our great country. His services to our nation will be remembered for a long time to come,” he added. Singh also sent a letter to Vajpayee’s adopted daughter Namita Kaul Bhattarcharya, calling him a “great patriot”.