Late former Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee will be cremated this afternoon in Delhi with full state honours. Earlier his body was kept at his home overnight and then carried by a flower-decked gun carriage to the BJP headquarters.
Scores of visitors, including Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, President of India Ram Nath Kovind, former president of India Pranab Mukherjee, former prime minister of India Manmohan Singh and former deputy prime minister of India LK Advani paid their last respects to the iconic leader.
His body will be taken to procession around 1 pm to the Rashtriya Smriti Samadhi, a site which is aptly located between the memorials of former prime ministers of India Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri. Roads have been blocked and traffic restrictions are underway in an anticipatory massive turnout.
The government of India has announced a seven day national mourning. Schools and officers are closed.
Earlier, at 5 pm on Thursday, Vajpayee passed away at the All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences or AIIMS where he had earlier been admitted to in June after his health worsened.
PM of India, Modi described Vajpayee’s death as the “end of an era” and said he felt like he had lost a father.
“For me, personally, it is like losing a father… Whenever he met me, he used to embrace me like a father,” he said in a video message.
“He was a leader, orator, journalist, statesman and more than anything a true son of India… Atal-ji may have gone, but his ideas, views, simplicity will always inspire us Indians.”