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End Of An Era : India Bids Tearful Farewell To Atal Bihari Vajpayee

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With lakhs of people lining along the streets, India bid a tearful farewell to three time former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. A Prime Minister who  was a master orator, poet and statesman. A Leader who believed  in consensus and took everybody along. He had great respect for  the opposition. It is this ability that  ensured he got  so  much  love and admiration from across the political spectrum.  His void will be missed and  will be difficult to fill.

In  a fitting and rare gesture several BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah walked along the cortege to Vajpayee’s final resting place of 15 kms from BJP headquarters – Rashtriya Smriti Stahal.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also posted an emotional message on twitter

The three service chiefs too paid  their last respects – Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba & Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa.

President Ram nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi , Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, BJP president Amit Shah, Dr Manmohan Singh also paid their last respects before the pyre was lit

Foster daughter Namita Bhattacharya lighted the pyre as he was cremated with full state honours and a 21 gun salute amidst moist  eyes.  Chants of  Atal Bihariji ki jai are heard all around .

Present on the cremation were leaders’ across party lines- Former prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Farooq Abdullah NC patron, Former Uttar Pradesh chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, Ashok Gehlot, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Raj Babbar, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, BJP Patriarch L K Advani, Rajnath Singh Home Minister, Smriti Irani, Sushma Swaraj , BJP top brass, cabinet Ministers.

Foreign leaders include – Bhutan King Jigme Wangchuk , Former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali .

The huge turn-out at the funeral indicates how much Atalji was loved and admired. And it is  no harm in  saying India has really lost a  gem .

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