New Delhi: On the eve of Atal Bihari Vajpayee's 94th birth anniversary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday released a Rs 100 commemorative coin in the memory of the former premier. Vajpayee's long-time associate and BJP veteran LK Advani, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and BJP president Amit Shah were present at the event here, too. The former prime minister died at the AIIMS in the national capital in August at the age of 93 following prolonged illness.

Addressing the gathering, Modi said he would go to Vajpayee's memorial on Tuesday to reiterate his commitment to the ideology and path shown by the statesman. 

"Atal Ji wanted democracy to be supreme. He built the Jana Sangh. But, when the time came to rescue our democracy he and others went to Janata Party. Likewise, when the choice was between remaining in power or comprising on ideology, he left Janata Party and formed the BJP," the Prime Minister said. 

Modi said while for some, power is oxygen and they cannot live without it, Vajpayee spent a long part of his career in the opposition benches raising issues of national interest. 

The late prime minister never compromised on the ideology of the party, Modi said. He added, the party, which "Atalji built brick by brick" has become among the largest political parties. 

Prime Minister Modi said Vajpayee as a speaker was unparalleled. "When he spoke, the nation spoke... when he spoke the nation listened," he said.

The mind is not ready to believe that Vajpayee is no longer alive. Though he was away from public glare for nearly a decade due to ill health, the way people gave him a farewell on his demise showed the mark he had created in people's minds, Modi said.

Memorial to be inaugurated on December 25, Vajpayee's birth anniversary

A memorial of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will be dedicated to the nation on his birth anniversary Tuesday at Rashtriya Smriti Sthal here.

President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other eminent personalities will attend a prayer meeting at the memorial near Rajghat, according to the 'Atal Smriti Nyas Society', which has developed the memorial — Sadaiv Atal.

An official said a vacant piece of land was made available for the memorial at Rashtriya Smriti Sthal by the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry.

It was constructed by the Centre Public Works Department (CPWD) at a cost of Rs 10.51 crore. The project was funded by the Atal Smriti Nyas Society, he said.

"Atalji's thoughts and vision are a source of inspiration to the people of the country. To enable people to pay their respects to the great soul, an initiative to develop his samadhi was taken up by the society," the official said.

Senior BJP leader and society president Vijay Kumar Malhotra told PTI that the memorial is spread over 1.5 acres of land at Rashtriya Smriti Sthal, where Vajpayee was cremated on August 17. He said the memorial reflects the former prime minister's personality as a poet, humanist, statesman and a great leader.

It is enclosed by nine bas-relief walls which have inscriptions of the poetry of vajpayee, he added.

Malhotra said not a single tree was cut down in developing 'Sadaiv Atal' at Rashtriya Smriti Sthal, which also houses samadhis (memorials) of former presidents, prime ministers among others.

The founding members of the society include Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Bihar Governor Lalji Tandon, Gujarat Governor OP Kohli, Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala, BJP leaders Vijay Kumar Malhotra and Ram Lal among others.