Farewell, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Iconic Leader Cremated With State Honours

Atal Bihari Vajpayee death: The government has announced seven-day national mourning and schools and offices are shut in many states on Friday.

 Share
EMAIL
PRINT
COMMENTS

PM Modi pays last respects to former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee at Smriti Sthal in Delhi


New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Atal Bihari Vajpayee spent last few years at Krishna Menon Marg
  2. The government has announced seven-day national mourning
  3. PM Narendra Modi described his death as "end of an era"

Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a titan in Indian politics, was given the highest national send-off on Friday with politicians across the spectrum and foreign dignitaries attending his funeral held with state honours on the banks of the river Yamuna in Delhi. Mr Vajpayee's foster daughter Namita Bhattacharya lit the funeral pyre as a 21-gun salute went off at the Smriti Sthal.

A sea of people had followed Mr Vajpayee's funeral procession from the headquarters of the ruling BJP, the party he helped form in 1980. Prime Minister Narendra Modi walked the entire four km stretch behind the flower-decked gun carriage, along with other top BJP leaders and ministers.

A massive crowd chanted "long live Atal-ji" and showered rose petals on the glass casket carrying the three-time prime minister, who died yesterday after a long illness.

"I am speechless, numb," PM Modi had said, expressing his grief. "It's like losing a father."

He surprised many on Friday by joining the procession from the BJP office to the Smriti Sthal, which is located close to the memorials of former prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri.

khi1jlso

Atal Bihari Vajpayee's last journey: Many roads are blocked in the capital and traffic restrictions have been announced.

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and politicians from various parties attended the funeral. Foreign dignitaries like the King of Bhutan and Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai were also present.

The former PM's body was kept overnight at his bungalow on Krishna Menon road, where he spent the last few years away from public life. From there, it was taken with military honours to the BJP office. The BJP patriarch could never visit the new, sprawling headquarters symbolic of the rise of the party he nurtured for decades.

Mr Vajpayee, who ruled the country thrice in the 1990s, had retreated from politics over the last few years because of his health.

v62qfhi8

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, several ministers and top BJP leaders were present as Mr Vajpayee's body, in a glass casket draped in the national flag, was carried into the building by soldiers.

It was widely reported that the former prime minister had a stroke in 2009 that severely affected his ability to speak and confined him to his home.

qgpv5rvg

The funeral procession of Atal Bihari Vajpayee passes through the streets of Delhi (AFP)

Mr Vajpayee was the first non-Congress leader since India's independence in 1947 to complete an entire term in office as head of a BJP-led ruling alliance between March 1998 and May 2004. He was admired by friends and rivals alike for his rich oratory, his poetic jibes and his statesmanship.



Get Breaking news, live coverage, and Latest News from India and around the world on NDTV.com. Catch all the Live TV action on NDTV 24x7 and NDTV India. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.

NDTV Beeps - your daily newsletter

................................ Advertisement ................................

................................ Advertisement ................................

................................ Advertisement ................................