India bids tearful adieu to former Prime Minister Vajpayee

India bids tearful adieu to former Prime Minister Vajpayee

New Delhi: Thousands of mourners, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, joined to pay their last tributes to former Indian PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee as his last rites were performed in Rashtriya Smriti Sthal here on Friday.

The funeral of the leader was performed with full military honours.

Vajpayee’s family members performed his last rites.

A ‘speechless’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi walked the entire procession as the mortal remains of Vajpayee was carried from BJP office to Rashtriya Smriti Sthal.

From President Ram Nath Kovind to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Congress President Rahul Gandhi, politicians from different political parties assembled at the venue where Vajpayee’s last rites were performed.

Several  South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation leaders also attended the funeral.

Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchu were among the SAARC leader who was present at the venue.

Vajpayee’s body was taken from his home to the BJP party office in New Delhi earlier in the day.

Vajpayee had played a crucial role in creating the BJP in 1980s.

Flower petals were showered and  “long live Atal-ji” slogans were raised as the former PM’s cortege moved through the streets of Delhi to reach Rashtriya Smriti Sthal.

Vajpayee’s mortal remains were kept overnight at Krishna Menon Marg residence where he had spent the last few years of his life.

Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind, former president Pranab Mukherjee, former prime minister Manmohan Singh paid their last tributes to the tall leader earlier in the day.

Vajpayee, a three-time Prime Minister of India, a Bharat Ratna and a stalwart of Indian politics who represented the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), passed away at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi on Thursday.  He was 93.

He was admitted to the hospital on June 11 with a kidney tract infection, urinary tract infection, low urine output and chest congestion.

Vajpayee, whose first term as the Prime Minister lasted only 13 days in 1996, returned to the top position in 1998 to lead the nation till 2004.

A bachelor all his life, he was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, in 2015.

Vajpayee was elected to the Lok Sabha (lower house) ten times and twice to the Rajya Sabha (upper house).

He represented the Lucknow parliamentary seat in Uttar Pradesh until 2009 when he retired from active politics.

–IBNS

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