Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday paid tributes to George Fernandes at his residence in the national capital and said he will stay in Delhi till the last rites are performed.
Mr Kumar, who arrived in Delhi from Patna, has already announced a two-day state mourning following the socialist leader's demise on Tuesday at his residence in Panchsheel Park after prolonged illness.
Before flying to Delhi, Mr Kumar recounted George Fernandes' role in shaping his political career with the formation of the Samta Party in the 90s to challenge Lalu Prasad, who was heading the Janata Dal government in the state.
"His guidance has been of great importance to all of us. It shall be our endeavour to live up to his expectations while we have the opportunity to serve the people," said a teary-eyed Nitish Kumar, who was accompanied by JDU state president Vashishth Narayan Singh and Speaker Vijay Kumar Chaudhary in Patna.
In Delhi, Mr Kumar was among a host of senior leaders, who visited the bereaved family at their residence.
George Fernandes was a "great man, he was a ''margdarshak'' (guide), and we are in pain after loosing a personality like him".
"He had a strong will power. He was keeping unwell for several years. He was also our ''abhibwawak'' (guardian)," Mr Kumar told reporters after visiting his residence.
His son is in the US and he is expected to come here soon. His funeral will take place after that. "I am staying in Delhi and won''t go to Patna till his last rites are performed," he said.
George Fernandes, a lifelong socialist despite his political adventurism that included Cabinet posts in two ideological opposite governments where he ousted Coca-Cola in 1977 and oversaw the Kargil war in 1999, died at the age of 88.
The last rites will be performed soon after his son arrives from the US, the former defence minister's wife Leila Kabir said Tuesday
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