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Ansari, Kalam pay homage to Shekhawat

Congress government in Rajasthan to build memorial for the former Vice-President

— Photo: Rohit Jain Paras

LAST RESPECTS:BJP leaders L. K. Advani and Vasundhara Raje paying homage to the former

JAIPUR: The mortal remains of the former Vice-President and three-time Rajasthan Chief Minister Bhairon Singh Shekhawat were consigned to the flames with full state honours here on Sunday.

As priests chanted Vedic hymns, Shekhawat's grandsons — Vikramaditya Singh and Abhimanyu Singh — lit the funeral pyre at the Vidhyadhar cremation ground.

A police contingent reversed arms and later fired in the air as a mark of respect to the doyen of Rajasthan politics.

A police band played melancholic tunes as family members, relatives, friends, admirers and leaders from across the political spectrum bade adieu to Shekhawat, affectionately called ‘Babo Sa.'

Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Bharatiya Janata Party leaders L.K. Advani, Nitin Gadkari and Arun Jaitley, and Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot were among a large number of dignitaries who attended the funeral.

Funeral procession

Earlier, the body, draped in the tricolour and kept in a flower-bedecked military truck, was taken in procession to the cremation ground. Hundreds of people lined the roads to have a glimpse of their leader as the procession wound its way through the city.

The procession halted at the BJP headquarters where party leaders, including Chief Ministers Narendra Modi (Gujarat), Shivraj Singh Chauhan (Madhya Pradesh) and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (Uttarakhand), offered floral tribute.

Before Shekhawat's last journey began, mourners who included the former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, and Union Minister Sharad Pawar visited his residence to pay their homage.

Shekhawat, who had friends across the political spectrum in his political career of over five decades, died of cardiac arrest at the age of 87 here on Saturday.

The Congress government in Rajasthan has announced that a memorial would be built in his name.

The Jaipur Development Authority has allocated 5,600 sq. metres of land in the Vidhaydhar Nagar area for the building, an official said. — PTI

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