As Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee left an indelible mark on India's democratic governance. This section chronicles his speeches as Prime Minister where he shares his ideas, thoughts on several issues and makes fervent appeals to the people with whom he enjoys a rapport that few political leaders can.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee: The Prime Minister
Atal Bihari Vajpayee served as the Prime Minister of India thrice. First from 16 May to 1 June 1996, then from March 1998 to Oct 1999 and from Oct 1999 to May 2004. He was the eleventh Prime Minister of India. He headed the BJP led National Democratic Alliance in the Indian Parliament, and became the first Prime Minister unaffiliated with the Indian National Congress to complete a full five-year term in office.
Shri Vajpayee's stint as Prime Minister has been characterized as era of courage of conviction. It was during this period that Vajpayee decided to develop nuclear capabilities. Following a series of successful nuclear tests at Pokharan in May 1998, India entered a select group of nations. His bus journey to Pakistan in February 1999, started a new era of negotiations to resolve the outstanding problems of the sub-continent. But when this gesture of friendship was betrayed in Kargil, Shri Vajpayee acted swiftly to drive away the intruders from the Indian soil. He acted as a statesman by stopping at LoC and avoided nuclear escalation.
Speaking from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the occasion of 52nd Independence Day, he said, "I have a vision of India: an India free of hunger and fear, an India free of illiteracy and want." He introduced many ambitious economic and infrastructural reforms, including encouraging the private sector and foreign investments, reducing governmental waste, encouraging research and development and privatization of some government owned corporations. His pet projects were the National Highway Development Project and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. He anchored the Indian economy and drove it to a sustainable level. Despite global recession, India achieved 5.8 per cent GDP growth, higher agricultural production and an increase in foreign exchange reserves during this period. Truly, his period was era of Bharat Nirman.
History will remember Atal Bihari Vajpayee as one of India's finest prime ministers.
A Defining Moment - Journey of Friendship and Hope Created by I & B Ministry, GoI in 21/02/1999 Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Historic Visit to Pakistan (Inauguration of Bus Seva)
Prime Minister's 15 Important Initiatives on Independence Day 2002 Created by I & B Ministry, GoI in 2002-02-15 Prime Minister's 15 Important Initiatives on Independence Day 2002