New Delhi, August 17: Former Prime Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) patriarch Atal Bihari Vajpayee was cremated with full state honour at Smriti Sthal on Friday. Vajpayee’s foster daughter Namita Bhattacharya lit the funeral pyre, while the Tricolour, wrapped around the glass coffin of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was handed over to his granddaughter Niharika.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP president Amit Shah, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, senior BJP leader LK Advani, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and various other national leaders attended the cremation ceremony to pay homage to the Bharat Ratna, who breathed his last at 5:05 pm on Thursday.
Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba and Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa also paid their last tribute to Vajpayee.
The ceremony was also attended by a string of foreign dignitaries including King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, Sri Lanka’s acting Foreign Minister Lakshman Kiriella and former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai.
Earlier in the day, scores of commoners joined Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah in the final journey to bid adieu to Vajpayee as the the cadaver was taken out from the newly built Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters to Rashtriya Smriti Sthal on the banks of Yamuna river for the last rites.
Slogans like Atalji amar rahen, Jab tak sooraj chand rahega, Atalji ka naam rahega, Bharat Mata ki jai and Vande Mataram rent the air as the procession progressed. Some people were carrying banners containing lines from poems written by Vajpayee.