PM Modi and Amit Shah walk along with Vajpayee’s procession, thousands throng Delhi streets
Prime Minister Narendra Modi followed on foot the vehicle carrying Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s body. BJP chief Amit Shah also accompanied him.india Updated: Aug 17, 2018 16:53 IST
Thousands of people, including political leaders and foreign dignitaries, on Friday paid their last tributes to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during his funeral at central Delhi’s Rashtriya Smriti Sthal.
President Ram Nath Kovind, vice-president Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, senior BJP leaders LK Advani and MM Joshi, Union ministers, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh were present at Smriti Sthal on the banks of the Yamuna, the designated spot for the last rites of presidents, vice-presidents and prime ministers.
Several chief ministers, including Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal and Chhattisgarh’s Raman Singh, and Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Ashok Gehlot and Raj Babbar were also present for the funeral.
Foreign dignitaries, including King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk and Nepal’s minister for foreign affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, laid a wreath to honour one of India’s tallest leaders. Sri Lanka’s acting foreign minister Lakshman Kiriella also attended the funeral.
“We remember him (Vajpayee) for his contribution to Bangladesh Liberation War and strong support to the people of Bangladesh. He had a great liking for Bengali music. I had the privilege of serving in Delhi as career diplomat when he became the foreign minister,” Bangladesh foreign minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali was quoted as saying by ANI after his arrival in New Delhi.
The chiefs of the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force saluted the leader one last time and laid wreaths on his body.
A huge crowd of people showered petals at the funeral procession and jostled to get a glimpse of the former prime minister as his body was brought to Smriti Sthal from the Bharatiya Janata Party’s headquarters in Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg.
The glass coffin, draped in India’s flag was followed by Prime Minister Modi and party president Amit Shah on foot from the BJP’s headquarters to Smriti Sthal.
Vajpayee, 93, died at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on Thursday evening after a prolonged illness.
(With PTI and ANI inputs)
First Published: Aug 17, 2018 16:05 IST