New Delhi: LK Advani was often referred to as the 'Laxman' to the 'Ram' that former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was. Together they struggled and took the BJP to power at the Centre for the first time in 1996. When the BJP lost terribly in the Delhi municipal election in 1958, Vajpayee and Advani went together to watch the movi, Phir Subah Hogi. It charged them to fight afresh. 

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Vajpayee and Advani forged a classic partnership that changed the political discourse during the Ram Mandir movement. Advani was its militant face and went on a country-wide Rath Yatra as a relatively liberal Vajpayee defended him. As Vajpayee passed away at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on Thursday, Advani will be a lonely man. 

Although Vajpayee was in a vegetative state for many years, his passing away has left his ‘Laxman’ speechless. Following is the statement of Advani, former deputy prime minister and Vajpayee's closest aide 

I am at a loss of words to express my deep grief and sadness today as we all mourn the passing away of one of India’s tallest statesmen, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. To me, Atalji was more than a senior colleague — in fact he was my closest friend for over 65 years.

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I cherish the memories of my long association with him, right from our days as Pracharaks of the RSS, to the inception of Bharatiya Jana Singh, the struggle of the dark months during the Emergency leading to the formation of Janata Party and later the emergence of the Bharatiya Janata Party in 1980.

Atalji will be remembered as the pioneer of the first-ever stable non-Congress coalition government at the Centre and I had the privilege of working as his deputy for six years.

As my senior, he always encouraged and guided me in every possible manner.

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His captivating leadership qualities, mesmerising oratory, soaring patriotism and above all, his sterling humane qualities like compassion, humility and his remarkable ability to win over adversaries despite ideological differences have all had a profound effect on me in all my years in public life.

I will miss Atalji immensely...