Modi, Shah hand over urns of Vajpayee’s ashes to BJP state chiefs for nationwide processions

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah today handed over urns containing ashes of Atal Bihari Vajpayee to the party’s state unit chiefs for leading ‘Asthi Kalash Yatra’ in their states as its top brass embarked on an exercise to firm up the legacy of the saffron stalwart.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj joined Modi and Shah in handing over the urns at a ceremony. The ashes of the former prime minister will be immersed in over 100 rivers across the country following a procession in which, Shah said, people could offer tributes to Vajpayee.

The party has decided to take out the ‘Asthi Kalash Yatra’ in all the states of the country so that citizens could offer their tributes to the popular leader, Shah tweeted.

Processions will start from today from state capitals and pass through all blocks, party leaders said.

BJP governments across the country have already undertaken a number of measures to cement the legacy of the leader, whose popular appeal and affable manners won it support of the masses and also new allies.

Many of them have announced memorials, some like Chhattisgarh named a city after him and some like Maharashtra decided to set up chairs in his name in universities.

Several ‘yatras’ will be held in many states so that they can pass through all district and blocks, they said.

Since Vajpayee, 93, died on August 16 following a prolonged illness, the BJP has organised a number of events, including a ceremony for immersing his ashes in Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar on August 19.Shah, other top party leaders like Singh and Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand chief ministers were present on the occasion.

It had also organised an all-party prayer meeting on August 20 to pay tribute to Vajpayee, who had led the BJP to victory in two back to back Lok Sabha elections and became the first opposition leader to compete a full term as prime minister. Leaders of all major parties paid rich tributes to him.

Modi had cited outpouring of emotions across the country following Vajpayee’s death even though he was away from public glare for a decade due to poor health, to emphasise on his enduring appeal.

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