The mortal remains of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee were cremated at Smriti Sthal in New Delhi on Friday. Vajpayee, 93, passed away on Thursday , August 16, 2018.
Indian and world leaders offered condolences for the death of the three-time Prime Minister, who was accorded a state funeral with full military honours.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah accompanied the cortege from the BJP headquarters to Smriti Sthal.
Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmud Ali, Nepal Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, acting Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka Lakshman Kiriella paid their last respects to the former PM.
The tricolour that was draped over the mortal remains of Vajpayee was folded and handed over to his granddaughter Niharika.
Following this, his body was cremated according to Hindu rituals, and he was accorded a 21-gun salute.
Here are the updates:
Ashes to be immersed i n all districts of Uttar Pradesh
The ashes of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will be immersed in the major rivers of all Uttar Pradesh, the Yogi Adityanath government has decided. The Chief Minister took the decision taking into view "public sentiments" so that the "people get a chance to associate with the final journey" of the former PM, a government spokesperson said on Friday. "Uttar Pradesh was former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji's karmabhoomi. He had a deep connect with every part of Uttar Pradesh," said Mr. Adityanath. — Omar Rashid
The tricolour placed over Mr. Vajpayee's remains are folded ceremoniously and given to his family members. Vajpayee’s granddaughter Niharika receives the flag. Vande Mataram is being sung now.
The last rites have begun. The funeral pyre is lit and a 21-gun salute is accorded to the former PM.
SAARC leaders pay last respects
Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmud Ali, Nepal Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, acting Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka Lakshman Kiriella pay their last respects.
They are followed by Indian leaders — L.K. Advani, BJP president Amit Shah, former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and others.
Vajpayee’s mortal remains reach Smriti Sthal
The mortal remains of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has reached Smriti Sthal. Leaders from SAARC nations are at the funeral.
The funeral rites have begun. Tri-service personnel place wreaths and pay their last respects.
Leaders pay their last respects — Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, President Ram Nath Kovind.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj walks in with SAARC leaders.
The crowd mourns Vajpayee’s passing.
Watch: The final journey towards Smriti Sthal begins
BJP workers collect garbage left behind by funeral procession
Cortège leaves for Smriti Sthal
Thousands accompany the military gun carriage carrying the mortal remains of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party president Amit Shah are among others accompanying the cortege.
Mourners walk beside the carriage, chanting slogans like ‘ Jab tak sooraj chand rahega, Atal ji ka naam rahega ,’ punctuated by patriotic cheers of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘Vande Mataram’.
The funeral procession is going through Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, Delhi Gate, Netaji Subhash Marg, Nishadraj Marg and Shanti van before reaching Smriti Sthal, Delhi Traffic Police said in a tweet.
South Asian leaders to attend the funeral
The MEA in a statement said that the following world leaders are coming to attend the funeral of former PM:
His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk of Bhutan; Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Foreign Minister of Nepal; Abul Hassan Mahmud Ali, Foreign Minister of Bangladesh; Ali Zafar, Minister of Law of Pakistan; and Lakshman Kiriella, Acting Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka.
The mortal remains of ex-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee arrives at the BJP Headquaters. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party president Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath among others present the headquarters.
People queue up outside BJP HQ
Thousands of people gather outside the BJP Headquarters at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg in New Delhi to pay their respects. "Mr. Vajpayee was an outstanding Prime Minister. It is he who made India a nuclear power," Anil Agarwal from Rohini, an admirer of the late leader, speaks to our correspondent Jaideep Deo Bhanj .
Another follower, Kishan Pandey from Sangam Vihar, says he has come to pay his respect to the former PM as politicians of his class are rare to find in these days. On loud speakers, as people wait, the Gayatri manta plays on loop.
Meanwhile, the body of the BJP veteran leaves from his official residence 6 A Krishna Menon Marg. Prime Minister Narendra Modi among others arrive at the BJP HQ.
The Rashtriya Smriti Sthal on the banks of the Yamuna, is in between the samadhi s of Jawaharlal Nehru (Shanti Van) and Lal Bahadur Shastri (Vijay Ghat). It is a common place for erecting memorials for former Presidents, Prime Ministers and others, with the approval of the Union Cabinet.
Ministers from South Asian neighbours to attend Vajpayee funeral
Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk is scheduled to attend the funeral of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Friday afternoon here along with a host of global envoys and dignitaries. Pakistan’s Acting Law and Information Minister and the foreign ministers of Nepal and Bangladesh are also scheduled to be at the cremation of the departed leader who received rich tributes from global capitals.
Delhi govt. offices, schools to remain close
All Delhi government offices, schools and other institutions shall remain closed on Friday, as mark of respect, said Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.
Cabinet condoles Vajpayee’s death
The Union Cabinet condoled the demise of Vajpayee, official sources said. As per convention, the Cabinet passed a resolution, condoling the demise of the BJP veteran. When towering leaders pass away, the Cabinet meets to condole their demise and pass a resolution.
A brief moment of silence was also observed, the sources said.
A State funeral would be accorded to Vajpayee and a half-day holiday would be observed in all central government offices on August 17.
A seven-day state mourning has been announced by the government as a mark of respect to the departed leader. In a circular, the Home Ministry said the National Flag would be flown at half-mast across the country for seven days.
“As a mark of respect to the departed dignitary, it has been decided that seven days of State mourning will be observed throughout India from August 16 to 22, both days inclusive.
“During this period, the national flag will be flown at half mast throughout India where it is regularly flown and there will be no official entertainment during the period of the State mourning,” the Home Ministry said.
The National Flag would fly at half-mast at all the Indian missions abroad on August, the day of Vajpayee’s funeral.
Seven-day mourning will be observed
A seven-day state mourning is being observed throughout India beginning from August 16 to 22, said an official statement. During this period the national flag will be flown at half mast throughout India where it is regularly flown. It has also been decided that the State funeral will be accorded to Mr. Vajpayee.
Uttar Pradesh government declared closure of all offices, schools and colleges on Friday as a mark of respect.
Advani condoles Vajpayee's death
“I cherish the memories of my long association with him, right from our days as pracharak s of the RSS, to the inception of Bharatiya Jana Singh, the struggle of the dark months during the Emergency leading to the formation of the Janata Party and later the emergence of the Bharatiya Janata Party in 1980," said L.K. Advani in a statement.
Vajpayee's life in pictures
With a poetic bent, and at the head of a coalition of political parties that were ideologically disparate whom he dealt with deftly, Mr. Vajpayee has been termed the “right man in the wrong party.” Here is the life and times of former Prime Minister in pictures.
A poetic orator
Known as much for his meaningful pauses as for his poetic oratory, Mr. Vajpayee’s legacy is now in the domain of history writers. What he says of himself and his long career in India’s public life is probably best encapsulated by some lines from his poem: “ Kaal ke kapaal par likhta mitaata hoon, geet naya gaata hoon (I write and erase lines on the forehead of time, I sing a new song)”. Here is obituary written by Nistula Hebbar.
Vajpayee, a 10-time Lok Sabha member
Atal Bihari Vajpayee had a unique distinction of being a member of Parliament for 12 terms -- a 10-time Lok Sabha member and twice of Rajya Sabha. The only time he lost a Lok Sabha election was against Madhavrao Scindia of Congress from Gwalior in 1984, when he lost by a margin of close to 2 lakh votes. Vajpayee represented Lucknow in the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th Lok Sabha from 1991 to 2009.
Vajpayee, the 1st Indian leader to address UNGA in Hindi
Mr.Vajpayee, the first External Affairs Minister to deliver a speech in Hindi at the UN General Assembly, effectively raised India’s stand on key issues like nuclear disarmament, state-sponsored terrorism and reforms at the world body.
(with inputs from PTI)