Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the only non-Congress premier of India to complete a full term in office, is in his deathbed at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) as his condition deteriorated on Wednesday and he was reported to be slipping, beyond retrieval.

As the news broke, several top BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited AIIMS to enquire about Vajpayee’s health.

According to a medical bulletin from AIIMS, the condition of the former PM has deteriorated over the past 24 hours even as he had started responding a bit to medication on Tuesday. Vajpayee is learnt to be suffering infection in intestine and lungs. He is currently on life support.

AIIMS director Randeep Guleria-led team of doctors is looking after the poet-politician who gave the first firm toehold to the BJP in Indian politics when he led three non-Congress NDA governments. Guleria has been his personal physician for the past three decades.

Union ministers Suresh Prabhu, Smriti Irani, Jitendra Singh, Dr Harshvardhan, Ashwini Kumar Chaoubey, Piyush Goyal and Delhi MP Meenakshi Lekhi paid a visit to the ailing stalwart.   

Vajpayee, now 93, is diabetic and has only one functional kidney. After he suffered a stroke in 2009, he also developed dementia as his cognition continued to fail.

Vajpayee’s first stint as PM lasted for 13 days from May 16, 1996 to June 1, 1996, while his second term of 13 months lasted between 1998 and 1999. Finally, as PM between 1999 and 2004, he became the first non-Congress head of a government to have lasted successfully for a full term.