The funeral procession of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has already started for his final journey to Smriti Sthal where he will be cremated with full state honours. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and other political leaders were among thousands of mourners who walked alongside the procession as a mark of respect to the stature of the departed leader. The former PM passed away on Thursday at 5:05 pm at AIIMS in the national capital, after being admitted there for over two months.
PM Narendra Modi and Amit Shah were seen moving just behind the vehicle carrying the cascade of the former Prime Minister. Vajpayee’s cremation is expected to take place today evening at around 4.30 PM.
Thousands of Vajpayee’s supporters from across the country and other mourners reached the capital to be part of the procession and get a last glimpse of the departed leader. Some even climbed trees to capture the moment on their cellphones as Vajpayee’s mortal remains left the BJP’s headquarters for Rashtriya Smriti Sthal for the last rites.
The 93-year old passed away last evening at AIIMS after suffering from a prolonged illness. People from all age groups had gathered outside the party office before the state funeral on the banks of the Yamuna river later in the day.
At the BJP office, PM Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, other leaders and party workers paid their last respects to Vajpayee who is considered among the country’s tallest leaders. The mood all around was solemn as the former Prime Minister’s body, draped in the Tricolour, was placed on a platform. People reached near the body, paid their obeisance and went past. A large portrait of a smiling Vajpayee was placed in the backdrop.
A number of foreign leaders have also reached the national capital for the last rites, which include Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, and Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali and former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai.
#WATCH: The mortal remains of former PM #AtalBihariVajpayee being taken to Smriti Sthal for the funeral. PM Modi, Amit Shah and other BJP leaders also take part in the procession. pic.twitter.com/k35LfX4Tps
— ANI (@ANI) August 17, 2018
Earlier in the morning, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Army Chief Bipin Rawat, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat paid homage to the departed leader at his official residence.
A number of roads have been closed in the national capital for the public later in the day in view of the public procession.