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BJP to take out ‘Kalash Yatra’ on Monday, immerse Vajpayee’s ashes in 20 rivers

The Uttar Pradesh government has decided to immerse the ashes in nearly 160 places across all the small and big rivers across the state.

india Updated: Aug 18, 2018 23:50 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Manish Chandra Pandey
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Atal Bihari Vajpayee,Lucknow,Uttar Pradesh government
Lucknow was Vajpayee’s traditional seat from where he was elected to the Lok Sabha for a record five consecutive terms from 1991 to 2004. All his three tenures as Prime Minister came when he represented Lucknow.(PTI)

The Yogi Adityanath government will take out the ‘Atal Asthi Kalash Yatra’, a religious exercise involving the immersion of late prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s ashes across Uttar Pradesh, on Monday.

According to Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey, the three-day-long yata will culminate in the final immersion of Vajpayee’s ashes in the Gomti river at Lucknow on Thursday. The BJP plans to invite religious heads of all faiths and leaders of every political party to the event, he said, adding that the gesture would be in keeping with the former premier’s larger-than-life appeal.

The yatra will begin from the Uttar Pradesh BJP office in Lucknow on Monday, where 20 ‘asthi kalashes’ (pots containing the ashes) would have been kept for ‘darshan’ since the previous evening. The Kalash Yatra will be taken out by a state minister as well as senior office-bearers of the ruling party. People will be able to pay homage to the late leader through the duration of the yatra.

“We have decided to immerse the ashes in 20 different rivers – from Ganga to Saryu and Yamuna to Hindon,” Pandey said.

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath will fly to Haridwar on Sunday morning to immerse Vajpayee’s ashes there, he said. BJP chief Amit Shah, Union home minister Rajnath Singh and Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat will be present at the immersion event in Haridwar, he added. Once that is done, the 20th asthi kalash will be taken to the BJP office in Lucknow.

Principal secretary (information) Avnish Awasthi said Vajpayee’s ashes would be brought to the BJP headquarters in Lucknow on a motorcade escorted by several party leaders. BJP veteran Lalji Tandon and governor Ram Naik would be among those stationed there to receive the ashes.

“Of course I will be there,” said Tandon, who had known Vajpayee for several decades.

Given Vajpayee’s popularity among all political parties, the BJP has decided to hold an ‘all-party prayer meeting’ at Jhulelal Park on the banks of the Gomti in Lucknow on Thursday. Religious leaders of all faiths and heads of all political parties would be invited for the prayer meeting headlined by Adityanath and Rajnath. The 20th asthi kalash will then be immersed in the Gomti.

When asked if the BJP expected leaders of all political parties to come, state BJP spokesperson Chandramohan said: “It’s up to them, but with the kind of appeal Vajpayeeji has across parties, we do expect that.”

The BJP also plans to organise ‘shraddhanjali sabhas’ across the state for three days, starting August 25.

Vajpayee represented the state capital for a record five terms in the Lok Sabha until ill-health forced him out of active politics. He contested and won his last Lok Sabha election from Lucknow in 2004.

First Published: Aug 18, 2018 20:27 IST