The story behind Atal Bihari Vajpayee's last living photograph
New Delhi : For more than a decade after retiring from the politics, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee lived a life away from shutterbugs, media and public interaction. After stroke in 2009, he became more reclusive because of his health and immobility.
Best known for his oratory, the BJP leader was forced into a silent zone by his bad health. The last few years were so private that there is hardly any photo of him in the public domain.
The story behind last photograph released on public domain
In 2015, Ex-President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited his spacious bungalow in Krishna Menon Marg in Lutyens’ Delhi to award Vajpayee the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, the occasion was deliberately kept low-profile and away from media glare.
No journalist was allowed inside and the only ones present during the felicitation ceremony were ministers, political leaders and Vajpayee’s family members.
Rashtrapati Bhavan later released a picture in a way that Vajpayee's face was smartly hidden behind a tray. The veteran BJP leader could be seen sitting in the armchair as Pranab Mukherjee felicitates him.
All we know is that he wore his favourite dress, a kurta, and that his hair was neatly combed. Since Vajpayee was seated while the then President was standing, it was clear that he had lost his ability to stand.
After that no picture of Atal Bihari Vajpayee was ever released on public domain.