Lucknow: Atal Bihari Vajpayee, India’s former Prime Minister and BJP co-founder unlikely to cast his vote in the third phase of the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Election on Sunday owing to his ill health.
Vajpayee has represented the city of Nawabs five times in the Lok Sabha from 1991 to 2009. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is the incumbent parliamentarian from Lucknow. Voter number 141 of Lucknow Central constituency didn’t vote in the last two Assembly polls also.
Mr Vajpayee, 92, has been suffering from age-related ailments and has not been seen in public for years.
“The last time Atal Bihar Vajpayee voted was in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, which was also the last election he ever contested. Thereafter, he could not vote in the assembly elections of 2007, 2012 as well as the Lok Sabha elections of 2009 and 2014,” said Shiv Kumar, a close aide of the ailing leader, to news agency Press Trust of India.
He added that this time too, the former Prime Minister “would be unable to cast his vote in the ongoing polls”.
BJP state spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi, commenting on Mr Vajpayee, said, “Though Atalji would not be able to cast his vote for the party candidate, his blessings are always with us. With this, we would surge ahead in the electoral battlefield.”
Atal Bihar Vajpayee is a former three-time Prime Minister of India. His first term lasted for 13 days in 1996. His second term lasted from 1998 to 1999 whereas his third term came between 1999 and 2004. The BJP patriarch is the first non-Congress leader to complete a full-term as Prime Minister. Mr Vajpayee also holds the distinction of being the first Indian leader to deliver a speech in Hindi at the UN General Assembly. He was conferred the Bharat Ratna in 2014 by President Pranab Mukherjee, who broke protocol to present him with the award at his residence.