Tens of thousands of farmers descended on Sisauli village on Monday to bid their final adieu to powerful leader and founder president of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Mahendra Singh Tikait, who died of bone cancer on Sunday morning.
After being taken around the entire village, Tikait’s body was consigned to flames around 4.15pm in Sisauli on Monday in the presence of VIPs and commoners who began pouring in right since the morning.
The funeral pyre was lit by his eldest son Mahesh, who said, “in keeping with my father’s wishes we will carry out each and every traditional ritual”.
While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati and Uttarakhand chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank condoled the death of the leader, Haryana chief minister BS Hooda came down to Sisauli to pay his homage to the farmer leader.
Among other political leaders to join the funeral were state agriculture minister Chaudhary Laxmi Narain, Congress MP Jagdambika Pal, Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan, besides a host of MPs and legislators from many parts of the state.
Former Lok Sabha speaker Balram Jhakhar had visited Tikait’s family on Sunday evening itself to express his condolences.
Tikait, 76, had emerged as the most powerful farmer leader in north India.
His clout with the farmer community was such that he could collect hundreds of thousands of farmers at one call.
His younger son Rajesh Tikait, whom he had appointed as BKU general secretary, is likely to inherit the father’s legacy.