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
I have lost a father figure.
Atal Ji taught me vital facets of both ‘Shaasan’ and ‘Sangathan.’
His noble thoughts will live on and we will fulfil his dreams for the country. pic.twitter.com/qr755OQ72o
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 16, 2018
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 .