Thousands bid farewell to Shekhawat
Thousands of people, including senior politicians, on Sunday bid a tearful adieu to former vice president Bhairon Singh Shekhawat as his funeral procession began from his home and passed through key areas of the Rajasthan capital.jaipur Updated: May 16, 2010 14:51 IST
Thousands of people, including senior politicians, on Sunday bid a tearful adieu to former vice president Bhairon Singh Shekhawat as his funeral procession began from his home and passed through key areas of the Rajasthan capital.
Shekhawat's residence saw mourners coming to pay their last respects right from the morning. Former president APJ Abdul Kalam, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Nitin Gadkari, senior party leader Arun Jaitley, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot were among those present at his residence from where the funeral procession began.
Shekhawat died at the Sawai Man Singh Hospital here Saturday, two days after he was admitted following complaints of uneasiness and breathing problems caused by a lung infection. He was 86 and is survived by his wife Suraj Kanwar and a daughter.
The three-time Rajasthan chief minister will be cremated near the Vidhyadhar Nagar stadium, some 15 km from his residence, where a memorial would also be constructed.
The veteran BJP leader's body was first brought to the state headquarters of the party where several people paid their last respects.
The city saw some emotional scenes as his body, being transported in a flower-bedecked carriage, passed through the main markets of the city.
Despite it being a Sunday, the roads were chock-a-block and traffic jams were reported on all major roads.
People stood along both sides of the roads with tears in their eyes and shouted slogans like "Bhairon Singh amar rahe, amar rahe" (Long live Bhairon Singh) and "Rajasthan Ka Ek Hi Singh... Bhairon Singh, Bhairon Singh" while offering flowers to their leader.
Shekhawat was one of the most popular politicians of the state. He joined politics in 1952 and was a member of the first Rajasthan legislative assembly.
"He used to love to meet people, talk to them and listen to their problems on a regular basis... It was his routine", said Arun Chaturvedi, president of BJP's Rajasthan unit.
Following the death of then vice president Krishan Kant, Shekhawat was elected to a five-year term. He was the country's 11th vice president from August 2002 to July 2007.
In 2007 he lost the presidential election to Pratibha Patil.