Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy on Thursday announced the death of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Moments later, he apologised for spreading the false news.
He wrote, “I am sorry I tweeted something upon being told by an all-India TV channel. I had taken it to be authentic. There has so far been no official announcement. I have deleted my tweet. Sorry again.”
His original tweet, now deleted, had read, “Former Prime Minister of India, silver-tongued orator, a very bright star on India’s political firmament for six decades, who began as a personal secretary to Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, intelligent, humility and humour personified, ATAL BEHARI VAJPAYEE passes away. Om Shanti.”
Roy wasn’t the only one announcing the news of Vajpayee’s death. Several Indian news channels including India TV, government-owned Doordarshan and Times Now also flashed the news of the former prime minister’s death. All had to retract the news later.
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Doctors at AIIMS on Wednesday had said that Vajpayee’s condition worsened over the before he was put on life support system.
A statement from AIIMS had said, “Atal Bihari Vajpayee has been admitted for the last nine weeks at AIIMS. Unfortunately, his condition has worsened over the last 24 hours. His condition is critical and he is on life support system.” A second medical bulletin on Thursday too had said that there was no change in his condition.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited AIIMS to inquire about the health condition of Vajpayee in the evening. This had followed similar visits by other cabinet colleagues of Modi including Smriti Irani and Piyush Goyal.
AIIMS authorities said that the Prime Minister visited the hospital around 7.18 p.m and was with Vajpayee for about 15 minutes.
Vajpayee, a diabetic patient, was undergoing treatment at AIIMS since 11 June. He was admitted to the hospital for what doctors described as a routine check-up.
The 1924-born leader was kept under the supervision of Dr Randeep Guleria, a pulmonologist and currently the Director of AIIMS. Guleria has served as personal physician to Vajpayee for over three decades.
Leaders cutting across party lines had wished speedy recovery for the veteran BJP leader. Among them were Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.