(Photo by Douglas CURRAN / AFP)
(Photo by Douglas CURRAN / AFP)

The poet-Prime Minister, an awarded parliamentarian, is renowned for his sparkling oratory, often laced with humour. He made many powerful and historic speeches; here are extracts from five of the most memorable ones.

“Today, at 15:45 hours, India conducted three underground nuclear tests in the Pokhran range. These tests conducted today were with a fission device, a low-yield device and a thermonuclear device. The measured yields are in line with expected values. Measurements have also confirmed that there was no release of radioactivity into the atmosphere. These were contained explosions like the experiment conducted in May 1974. I warmly congratulate the scientists and engineers who have carried out these successful tests”. – Then Prime Minister Mr Vajpayee announces India’s nuclear weapon tests.

“You want to run the country. It’s a very good thing. Our congratulations are with you. We will be completely involved in the service of our country. We bow down to the strength of majority. We assure you that till the time the work that we started with our bare hands in national interest is not completed, we shall not rest. Respected speaker, I am going to the President to tender my resignation.” – Mr Vajpayee speaks in Lok Sabha after the fall of his 13-day-old government in 1996.

“My dear countrymen, on this independence anniversary, we have a message — to come together, to work hard together to realise the dreams of our country. Our aim may be as high as the endless sky, but we should have a resolve in our minds to walk ahead, hand-in-hand for victory will be ours. Come, let us strengthen this resolve by the cry of ‘Jai Hind’. Join me in raising the slogan — Jai Hind. Jai Hind. Jai Hind. Thank you”. – Mr Vajpayee addresses the nation on Independence Day in 2002.

“As we talk with candour, we open the doors to new possibilities and new areas of cooperation in advance in democracy, in combating terrorism, in energy and environment, science and technology and international peacekeeping. And we are discovering that our shared values and common interests are leading us to seek a natural partnership of shared endeavours. India and the United States have taken a decisive step, away from the past. The dawn of the new century has marked a new beginning in our relations. Let us work to fulfil this promise and the hope of today. Let us remove the shadow of agitation that lies between us and our joint vision. Let us use the strength of all that we have in common to build together a future that we wish for ourselves and for the world we live in”. – Mr Vajpayee addresses a joint session of the US Congress in 2000.

“We have been the victims of three attacks. This fate should not repeat. We are not getting ready to attack anyone. We don’t have that intention. I was asked about the connection between Pokhran-2 and the Lahore bus service. They are two sides of the same coin — the strength of our defence and the hand of friendship — the hand of friendship through honesty”. – Mr Vajpayee speaks in Lok Sabha after the nuclear tests in Pokhran.

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