Atal Bihari Vajpayee last rites pics: Former Prime Minister and BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee who died on Thursday evening after prolonged illness was cremated with full state honours on Friday.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee last rites pics: Former Prime Minister and BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee who died on Thursday evening after prolonged illness was cremated with full state honours on Friday. A host of VIPs, leaders, foreign dignitaries and people from across the country throng Smriti Sthal in Delhi to attend the last rites of Vajpayee who had headed a coalition government between 1998 and 2004. Those who attended the leader’s cremation included President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, PM Narendra Modi, Union Ministers, CMs of several states, leaders from SAARC countries, opposition leaders and lakhs of people from different walks of life.
Vajpayee had announced his retirement from active politics in 2005 at a public rally in Mumbai. Since then, the leader had hardly made any appearances. A diabetic, Vajpayee had last addressed a public rally on February 11, 2007, in Punjab. It was his last public address before he suffered a stroke in 2009 that had weakened his cognitive abilities and developed dementia. The next time, Vajpayee’s photo was released to the public was in 2015 when Bharat Ratna was conferred upon him. As the nation bids adieu to Vajpayee with wet eyes, we bring to you the last rite pictures of the former Prime Minister from Smriti Sthal where was cremated on Friday evening.
Namita Kaul Bhattacharya, the foster daughter of Vajpayee, lit the pyre as cries of “Atal Bihari Amar Rahe” reverberated and the Army performed the 21-gun salute. The tricolour draping Vajpayee was folded and handed over to his granddaughter Niharika.
Leaders from SAARC countries also paid homage to Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk, former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Pakistan Law Minister Syed Ali Zafar, Nepal Foreign Affairs Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, acting Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Lakshman Kiriella and Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali were present at the Smriti Sthal.
When the final journey started from the BJP’s head office at around 2:30pm, PM Modi and Amit Shah walked behind the flower-decked gun carriage carrying the mortal remains of Atal Bihari Vajpayee draped in the Tricolour. Modi, Shah, several Union Ministers, CMs of states and many BJP leaders walked the entire route till the cremation ground leading the mourners.
The Smriti Sthal where mortal remains of Atal Bihari Vajpayee were cremated, was surcharged with emotion as former PM’s body was consigned to the flames. People, many of them misty-eyed, raised slogans like “Atalji amar rahen”.
The country is observing a seven-day state mourning as a mark of respect for former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who had been decorated with the Bharat Ratna and was very popular. The Tricolour is flying half-mast.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee had a pan-India appeal cutting across boundaries of caste, community, language and his flair for foreign policy. His initiatives were acknowledged globally. His political rivals were also touched by his gentleness and magnanimity.
Vajpayee had served as the Prime Minister of India thrice. He first became Prime Minister in 1996, but his government lasted for just 13 days. His second stint as PM was in 1998 when the BJP-led NDA again came to power but that lasted for just 13 months. Finally, the NDA with Vajpayee as PM returned to power in 1999 and was voted out in 2004.