New Delhi: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday condoled the death of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and said that the Bharatiya Janata Party stalwart was ‘loved by everyone in India and by every single person in Odisha’. He was 93.
A visibly emotional Patnaik, while addressing the reporters, said, “I am deeply, deeply grieved by his passing. India has lost one of its tallest leaders. He was loved by everyone in India and by every single person in Odisha. May his soul rest in peace.”
Patnaik earlier today recalled working with the former prime minister, saying Vajpayee was a great leader and that it was always a good experience to work with him.
The two leaders shared a strong political bond. Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal was a part of the Vajpayee-led National Democratic Alliance government from 1998 to 2004. Patnaik served as the Minister of Mines in Vajpayee’s cabinet for nearly two years until March 2000.
The BJD and BJP together contested the Lok Sabha elections in 1998, 1999 and 2004 and won several seats in the Odisha state. The two parties also formed successive coalition governments after Odisha state assembly elections in 2000 and 2004.
Vajpayee, who had been admitted to the AIIMS hospital in New Delhi for the past few weeks, died on Thursday. He was 93.