Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: The body of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) founder Kanshi Ram was consigned to flames with Buddhist rituals here on Monday.

The last rites were performed in the presence of his two brothers and sister. BSP president Mayawati personally supervised the last journey of her mentor.

Earlier, the body was brought to the party office around 1 p.m. and kept there for an hour for people to pay homage. Several national and State leaders, including Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, paid their tributes at the party office.

Then the body, wrapped in the tricolour, was taken to the Nigam Bodh Ghat in a glass casket mounted on a flower-decked vehicle. The cremation took place around 4 p.m.

Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi, the former Prime Minister I.K. Gujral, and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj were present at the funeral.

During the funeral procession, party workers and followers raised slogans hailing Kanshi Ram as "the leader of the Dalits." A group of Buddhist monks accompanied the procession. While the leader had not formally converted to Buddhism, he was said to have been very close to it.

As per Kanshi Ram's wishes, his mortal remains would not be immersed in any river but would be kept in the party offices in Delhi and Lucknow, Ms. Mayawati said.