The nation mourned and bid farewell to former prime minister and veteran BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee as he was laid to rest on Friday at Rashtriya Smriti Sthal in Delhi with full state honours. As national leaders and his close ones clad in white clothes stood in solemnity by the prye and amid chants of Vedic hymns, the daughter of former PM, Namita Bhattacharya, performed his last rites. And, amid light drizzle, the sun went down on an era of Indian politics as Bharat lost its Ratna. However, the nation will long remember the most loved political leader of Modern India with nostalgia.
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A sea of people thronged the funeral procession, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah walked behind the casket as the cortege slowly made way to Smriti Sthal. Besides Modi and Shah, union ministers and chief ministers of several states, including Vijay Rupani, Shivraj Chouhan, Yogi Adityanath and Devendra Fadnavis were among those who attended the funeral.
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The massive crowd, stirred by emotions, chanted slogans "Atal Bihari Amar Rahe", as Vajpayee's cortege made way from the BJP headquarters to the cremation ground.
National political leaders, chief ministers, opposition leaders, chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force, governors and a host of other dignitaries attended the funeral of Vajpayee at Rastriya Smriti Sthal, a cremation site at the heart of the national capital.
President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, BJP president Amit Shah, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, veteran politician L K Advani, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Army chief General Bipin Rawat, Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa and Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba laid wreaths.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Union ministers Harsh Vardhan, Ram Vilas Paswan, Shripad Naik and Piyush Goval, chief ministers Yogi Adityanath, Nitish Kumar, Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Vijay Rupani also attended the funeral.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi, SAD patriarch Parkash Singh Badal and Congress leader Raj Babbar were also present at the funeral.
Foreign dignitaries such as Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, Afghan politician Hamid Karzai and Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali also came to attend the funeral and pay their last respects to the leader.
Surrounded by political leaders from several parties, the 93-year-old BJP stalwart breathed his last on Thursday at 5.05 pm at AIIMS Delhi after prolonged illness and owing to multiple organs failure.