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Atal Bihari Vajpayee worked for the country and Congress respects him: Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi had gone to meet BJP patriarch Atal Bihari Vajpayee in AIIMS on Monday.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee worked for the country and Congress respects him: Rahul Gandhi
Pic courtesy: Twitter/@INCIndia

Mumbai: Rahul Gandhi said on Tuesday that he went to see BJP patriarch Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who is admitted in AIIMS, as the former PM had worked for the country and the Congress party respected him.

Vajpayee was thrice elected the PM between 1996 and 1999 and is the only non-Congress prime minister to complete the full term of five years, from 1999 to 2004. As his health deteriorated, he slowly withdrew from public life and has been confined to his residence for years. 

"We had contested against Vajpayee ji, but when he is ill now I went to meet him on priority because I am a soldier of Congress. Vajpayee ji had worked for our country and we respect him as he was the PM. This is our culture," the Congress president said addressing the booth workers in Mumbai.

He also said that he felt sorry for BJP veteran LK Advani, claiming that Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not 'respect his guru'. "LK Advani has been the guru of PM Modi, but I have seen in events that the Prime Minister does not even respect his guru. Today I feel very sad for Advani ji. The Congress party has given him more respect than Modi ji," Rahul said, as per ANI.

Rahul was among those who paid a visit to the ailing leader in the hospital on Monday. Others who visited Vajpayee on Sunday included Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP veteran LK Advani, party chief Amit Shah, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Health Minister JP Nadda and Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan.

The condition of the former PM was stable, the hospital said on Tuesday. In a statement, the AIIMS said, "His condition is stable. He is responding to treatment and is on injectable antibiotics. All his vital parameters are stable. He will continue to be in hospital till the infection is controlled," PTI reported.

A host of political leaders, including former PMs Manmohan Singh and HD Deve Gowda, visited the ailing leader on Tuesday. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, MoS Health Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Union Ministers Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and Anant Geete were others who visited him.

Meanwhile, slamming the BJP, Rahul said, "They have the recently lost in Karnataka and have barely saved themselves in Gujarat, they will be wiped out in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh and Congress and other opposition parties will defeat them in the General Elections 2019."

"A senior politician told me that he has been fighting against the Congress for the past 50 years and it is after 50 years that he realised that if there is any party which can keep the country safe it is the Congress. Only Congress can defeat the ideology of BJP and RSS. As Mumbai takes in all sections of people and works together so does Congress party takes in all sections of society and works towards building an inclusive India," he added.

"My message to all of you is, this party belongs to its workers, not just the leaders. Wherever BJP-RSS spreads hate, a Congress worker should spread love and peace," he told party workers.

(With Agency inputs)