The ashes of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee were immersed in the river Ganga in Haridwar today in a power packed ceremony, attended by Chief Ministers of two states - Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand - home minister Rajnath Singh and BJP chief Amit Shah. The party, which was in the middle of prepping for next year's elections, plans to hold a huge ceremony, complete with a cavalcade, when the former Prime Minister's ashes arrive in Lucknow and are immersed in river Gomti on Tuesday.
The BJP patriarch -- who represented Lucknow in parliament for years -- had died at Delhi's AIIMS on Thursday after a long illness. His funeral was attended by leaders from across the country and foreign dignitaries.
The BJP had said Mr Vajpayee's ashes will be immersed in rivers across the country - as befits a leader whose life was dedicated to the nation. Also in memory of the iconic leader's broad views that brought him huge respect across political lines, the BJP said it wished to hold "all-party" condolence meetings, especially in Lucknow.
This morning, the first of the urns reached Haridwar - the second holiest pilgrim towns of India after Varanasi, the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The BJP had taken out full-page ads in newspapers to announce the event, which took place in the afternoon. The ashes were immersed at Har ki Paudi - a ghat dedicated to the Lord Shiva and a landmark in the temple town - by the former Prime Minister's foster daughter Namita Bhattacharya and granddaughter Niharika.
The huge attendance at Mr Vajpayee's funeral was a reflection of the respect he gained from all quarters for his politics, statesmanship and oratory. PM Modi, who visited the ailing BJP patriarch in hospital five times, has said Mr Vajpayee had been a father-figure to him.
Other BJP ruled states - Jharkhand and Rajasthan - have already declared that they are also getting a share of the ashes, which will be immersed in the rivers of the state with ceremony.
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