Lucknow: One lakh people to attend immersion of Atal’s ashes

An estimated one lakh people are expected to attend the immersion of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s ashes on the banks of the Gomti in Lucknow on Thursday.

lucknow Updated: Aug 20, 2018 14:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Lucknow,Uttar Pradesh,Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s ashes
The ashes of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee immersed in Ganga river at Haridwar. (ANI/Twitter)

An estimated one lakh people are expected to attend the immersion of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s ashes on the banks of the Gomti in Lucknow on Thursday.

Senior BJP leaders, including state general secretary (organisation) Sunil Bansal, state general secretary Gobind Shukla and several others visited the Jhule Lal Park here On Sunday. The BJP leaders discussed the arrangements for the immersion with senior bureaucrat Avnish Awasthi, Lucknow SSP Kalanidhi Naithani and others.

Seating arrangement for at least 20,000 people is being made for Thursday’s prayer meeting which would be attended by chief minister Yogi Adityanath, his ministerial colleagues, union home minister and Lucknow MP Rajnath Singh and other leaders.

Vajpayee’s family members too are expected to be present on the occasion.

Before that, the asthi kalash or urns containing the ashes of the late leader would be taken in a procession to various parts of the state and the ashes immersed in rivers in those districts.

The BJP plans to take the urns, accompanied by a minister of the Yogi Adityanath government and party office bearers, to all 75 districts of the state.

Vajpayee’s ashes were earlier to arrive on Sunday but the BJP postponed the programme at the last minute. UP BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey and minister Gopal Tandon who were to leave for Delhi to bring the ashes to Lucknow returned at the eleventh hour and will now leave for the national capital on Tuesday.

Gopal is the son of Vajpayee’s protégé Lalji Tandon whose association with the late prime minister dates back to several decades.

“There are many across the state wanting to have darshan of Vajpayeeji who had an emotional attachment with the state. That’s why all the people would be provided a chance to pay their homage to the great leader,” Tandon said.

UP BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey said that the urns containing the ashes would be received by senior ministers and party leaders in all the divisional headquarters of the state.

“I will be present at Varanasi, deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya will be present in Allahabad. Likewise other ministers and leaders will be present in each district. The urns would be accompanied by senior ministers and leaders all over the state,” he said.

“Atalji had a larger than life appeal and hence we will invite leaders of all political parties and religious heads of all faiths at these immersions, whether across the state or in Lucknow,” Pandey said.

First Published: Aug 20, 2018 14:30 IST