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HindustanTimes Thu,02 Oct 2014

Sonia set to join Mandela's funeral at Johannesburg

Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 08, 2013
First Published: 17:50 IST(8/12/2013) | Last Updated: 17:53 IST(8/12/2013)

Congress president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi is set to leave for South Africa on Monday evening to join the funeral of former president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.


 
She will be part of the high-level delegation led by President Pranab Mukherjee to Johannesburg to pay the nation’s tribute to Mandela, who passed away after a prolonged illness late on Thursday night.
 
Sources told HT the Indian delegation to South Africa will comprise of leaders from different political parties including Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha.

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Other members of the delegation are Union commerce minister Anand Sharma, CPI(M) politburo member Sitaram Yechury and BSP leader Satish Chandra Mishra.
 
An official memorial service will be held at the Soccer City Stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg, on December 10. Thereafter, three days of lying-in-state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria (SA’s equivalent of South Block and North Block) will allow South Africans and international visitors to pay their respects.
 
Finally, on December 15, a funeral in Mandela’s home village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape province will be attended by family members, cabinet ministers, heads of state and other dignitaries.
 
The Indian delegation will attend the official memorial service and are likely to meet the family members of the departed leader.


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