End of an era: Nation mourns demise of Atal Bihari Vajpayee; Funeral today

New Delhi/ Bhubaneswar: People from all walks of life on Friday paid rich tributes to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who died at the age of 93 at AIIMS New Delhi yesterday.

Vajpayee’s mortal remains, wrapped in the tricolour, were taken to the BJP headquarters today for the people to pay their last respects to the departed leader.

The body in a flower-decked casket was carried in a hearse to 6-A Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg headquarters.

Vajpayyee, who passed away at the AIIMS here on Thursday evening at the age of 93, will be cremated at the Rashtriya Smriti Sthal near Rajghat in the national capital at 4 p.m.

His last journey will begin from the Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters to Rashtriya Smriti Sthal at 1 p.m. The government has announced a state funeral for Vajpayee.

A seven-day state mourning has been announced as a mark of respect for the former Prime Minister.

Leaders cutting across party lines expressed grief over the demise of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

From Prime Minister Narendra Modi to several other politicians, celebrities and others took to social media and offered their tributes to the departed soul.

“I have no words, I am filled with emotions right now. Our respected Atal ji is no more. Every moment of his life he had dedicated to the nation,” said PM Narendra Modi. In his tweet, Modi also stated that Vajpayee lived for the nation and served it assiduously for decades and his death marks the end of an era.

“It was Atal Ji’s exemplary leadership that set the foundations for a strong, prosperous and inclusive India in the 21st century. His futuristic policies across various sectors touched the lives of each and every citizen of India,” tweeted Modi.

Remembering his association with Vajpayee, Modi in his 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.”

“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,” read another tweet of the Prime Minister.
President of India, Ram Nath Kovind to expressed shock over the demise of Atal ji.

“Extremely sad to hear of the passing of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, our former Prime Minister and a true Indian statesman. His leadership, foresight, maturity and eloquence put him in a league of his own. Atalji, the Gentle Giant, will be missed by one and all,” tweeted Kovind.

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik who visited New Delhi AIIMS said “I am deeply grieved by the sad demise of Vajpayeeji. India has lost one of its tallest leaders.”

Former Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda also expressed grief over Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s demise.

“Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji amar rahe! He was always my idol. For long years he was ‘the right man in the wrong party’, but by the time i entered Parlmt, he was already (& remains) one of our most revered & popular heads of govt ever. He was a class apart,” wrote Panda in a tweet.

Former Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda on Friday stated his tweet on Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s demise was misread and misunderstood.

In a a tweet, Panda clarified, “A few ppl from ignorance misunderstood the phrase in quote marks in tweet blw. A few others from malice pretended not to notice the quote marks. It was in quotes bcz it’s NOT my opinion but some others’. My point: it was a common 1980s description for AtalJi, which he disproved.”


Earlier, Congress President Rahul Gandhi ion Thursday wrote, “Today India lost a great son. Former PM, Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji, was loved and respected by millions. My condolences to his family & all his admirers. We will miss him.”

Union Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore stated that Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a leader par excellence.

“A leader par excellence, a daring PM who made Pokhran possible, a highly principled politician & a poet of inspirational grit who was admired across party lines.His demise is an irreparable loss, and marks the end of an era,” tweeted Rathore.

 

Odisha Pradesh Congress Chief Niranjan Patnaik also expressed grief over the demise of former PM Ataj Bihari Vajpayee.

Odisha government has declared government holiday tomorrow in the state. All government offices, schools and colleges to remain shut across the state.

Meanwhile, Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s  mortal remains will be taken to BJP headquarters and at 1 pm his last journey will begin. Funeral will be held at 4 pm at Smriti Sthal, informed BJP President Amit Shah.

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