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Thousands of people have been paying homage to India's former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee – who made the country a global nuclear power – ahead of his cremation today at the age of 93.
Vajpayee, a former journalist and poet turned politician, died yesterday in a New Delhi hospital where he was being treated for a kidney infection and chest congestion.
Amid - Chants - Live - Vajpayee - Admirers
Amid chants of 'Long Live Vajpayee' by his admirers, his body was today taken in a gun carriage from his home to the Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters before cremation on the banks of the Yamuna River.
The government announced the national flag will be flown at half-mast in mourning for seven days at government offices and Indian embassies abroad.
Schools - Colleges - Capital - Government - Mourning
Schools and colleges are closed in the Indian capital with the government announcing seven-day mourning for Vajpayee.
He served three times as India's prime minister: for 13 days in 1996, for 13 months from 1998 to 1999, and then from 1999 to 2004.
Vajpayee - Foundations - Rise - Bharatiya - Janata
Vajpayee is credited with helping lay the foundations for the meteoric rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the political powerhouse that rules India today.
A one-time journalist, Vajpayee was in many ways a political contradiction: He was the moderate leader of an often-strident Hindu nationalist movement.
Ex-PM - Poet - Nature - India - Growth
The ex-PM was a lifelong poet who revered nature but who oversaw India's growth into a swaggering regional economic power.
He was also the prime minister who ordered nuclear tests in 1998, stoking fears of atomic war between India and Pakistan. Then, a few years later, it was Vajpayee who made the first moves toward peace.
Vajpayee - Supporters - Politician - Fanaticism - Man
Vajpayee's supporters saw him as a skilled politician who managed to avoid fanaticism; a man who refused to see the world in black and white.
But his critics considered him the leader of a fanatic movement - a movement partially rooted...
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