Indian PM Modi grieves ex

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In another tweet, he said: "It was Atal Ji's exemplary leadership that set the foundations for a strong, prosperous and inclusive India in the 21st century. His futuristic policies across various sectors touched the lives of each and every citizen of India."

"Atal Ji's passing away is a personal and irreplaceable loss for me. I have countless fond memories with him. He was an inspiration to Karyakartas like me. I will particularly remember his sharp intellect and outstanding wit," said Modi in another tweet.

Vajpayee had passed away on Thursday after a prolonged illness. He was 93 years old and was survived by an adopted daughter.

Vajpayee served as the Indian prime minister thrice - first in 1996 (May 16-31), and then for two consecutive terms between March 1998 to May 5004. During his active political life, he was always seen as a great orator, and had friends across party lines.

Vajpayee's mortal remains have been shifted to his official residence in Delhi, and the last rites and rituals would be performed in the Indian capital city on Friday.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C) watches the truck carrying the body of the former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in New Delhi, India, Aug. 17, 2018. Modi on Thursday expressed grief and sadness over the demise of former premier Atal Bihari Vajpayee, saying it was a "personal loss" to him. (Xinhua)

NEW DELHI, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday expressed grief and sadness over the demise of former premier Atal Bihari Vajpayee, saying it was a "personal loss" to him.

"India grieves the demise of our beloved Atal Ji. His passing away marks the end of an era. He lived for the nation and served it assiduously for decades. My thoughts are with his family, BJP workers and millions of admirers in this hour of sadness," tweeted Modi.