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Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Monday, November 1, 1999
In 1957 Vajpayee won election to the Lok Sabha beginning a parliamentary career that would span more than 40 years. When Indira Gandhi declared emergency in 1975, Vajpayee was one of several opposition party leaders that was put in jail.

A poet and lifelong bachelor, Vajpayee was widely portrayed as a moderate within a political movement long associated with a rigid pro-Hindu agenda. However, Vajpayee did not retreat from the BJP's controversial pledge to declare India a nuclear weapons power. Under his leadership, the Indian government conducted its first nuclear weapons tests since 1974, testing five nuclear devices.
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