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Wednesday 21 November, 2018, 8:47 pm
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Vajpayee was my closest friend for 65 years, will miss him immensely: Advani

New Delhi: Former Bharatiya Janata Party president Lal Krishna Advani was one of the closest associates of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the death of the latter has left the former devastated. Advani called Vajpayee as one of India's tallest statesmen and his closest friend for over 65 years whom he will miss immensely. He added that he had no words to express his feelings.

In his condolence message on Thursday evening, Advani said that his captivating leadership qualities, mesmerising oratory, soaring patriotism and above all, his sterling humane qualities like compassion, humility and his remarkable ability to win over adversaries despite ideological differences have all had a profound effect on him.

"I cherish the memories of my long association with him, right from our days as pracharaks of the RSS, to the inception of Bharatiya Jana Singh, the struggle of the dark months during the Emergency leading to the formation of Janata Party and later the emergence of the Bharatiya Janata Party in 1980," the former deputy prime minister said.

"Atalji will be remembered as the pioneer of the first ever stable non-Congress coalition government at the Centre and I had the privilege of working as his deputy for six years. As my senior, he always encouraged and guided me in every possible manner," he said.

Vajpayee was declared dead on Thursday evening at 5:05 pm by the doctors at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). He had been unwell for the last several years and was admitted to AIIMS on June 11 after complaints of chest congestion, kidney infection, urinary tract infection and other associated conditions.

The Centre has declared national mourning for seven days till August 22 and the National Flag will be flown at half-mast.

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