His first encounter with politics was during August 1942 at the time of the Quit India Movement. Vajpayee and his elder brother Prem faced arrest for 23 days. He joined the Bharatiya Jana Sangh when it was newly formed in 1951 and subsequently became motivated by the party leader Shri Shyama Prasad Mookerjee. He was with Shri Shyama Prasad Mookerjee when the latter observed a fast unto death in 1951 in Kashmir against the supposed inferior treatment shown towards non Kashmiri visitors. During this strike Shri Shyama Prasad Mookerjee died in prison.