New Delhi, August 16: Government has declared seven-day national mourning till August 22 to mark the demise of former Prime Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) patriarch Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who breathed his last on Thursday. In a circular, the Home Ministry said national flag would be flown at half mast from today for seven days across India and a state funeral would be accorded to Vajpayee. Also Read - National Technology Day: PM Modi Remembers the Historic Pokhran Test, Hails Indian Scientists & Engineers
“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 16-22, 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 asserted. Also Read - Tejasvi Surya Controversy: Govt Asks Twitter to Remove Bengaluru MP's Tweet Linking Terrorism to Islam
As a mark of respect, Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP govt has decided to shut all govt offices, schools (both private and govt) and other institution in national capital on Friday, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia informed on micro-blogging site Twitter. Also Read - 'Aao, Phir se Diya Jalaein', PM Modi Shares Vajpayee's Iconic Poem Day After '9-Minute Blackout' Call
Meanwhile, Bihar government has also announced one day holiday and four days mourning in wake of former PM’s demise. On the other hand, Punjab govt has declared three-day mourning in memory of Vajpayee. “All Punjab Offices/Boards/Corporation and Educational Institutions of the state will also remain closed tomorrow as a mark of respect,” news agency ANI reported. Odisha government has also declared government holiday on Friday in the state.
The 93-year-old leader, who had faded from public life for more than a decade was admitted to national capital’s AIIMS with urinary tract infection on June 11. He breathed his last at 5.05 PM today.
Confirming the saddening news, the hospital in a statement said,”It is with profound grief that we inform about the sad demise of Former Prime Minister of India, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee at 05: 05 pm on 16.08.2018.”
“Shri Vajpayee was admitted in AIIMS on 11.06.2018 and was stable in the last 9 weeks under the care of a team of AIIMS doctors. Unfortunately, his condition deteriorated over the last 36 hours and he was put on life support systems. Despite the best of efforts, we have lost him today. We join the nation in deeply mourning the great loss,” it added.
Calling Vajpayee’s death a “a personal loss”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet said, “Atal Ji’s passing away is a personal and irreplaceable loss for me. I have countless fond memories with him. He was an inspiration to Karyakartas like me. I will particularly remember his sharp intellect and outstanding wit.”
Describing the former Prime Minister’s contribution to the formation of BJP, he added, “It was due to the perseverance and struggles of Atal Ji that the BJP was built brick by brick. He travelled across the length and breadth of India to spread the BJP’s message, which led to the BJP becoming a strong force in our national polity and in several states.”
Vajpayee’s last rites will be performed at around 5 pm near Rajghat on Friday.