BJP plans it big to celebrate Vajpayee's legacy

BJP plans it big to celebrate Vajpayee's legacy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hands over the ashes ('Asthi Kalash') of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to Karnataka BJP President for immersion in his state, at the party headquarters in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah on Wednesday handed over urns containing ashes of A B Vajpayee to state party chiefs for 'Asthi Kalash Yatras' across the country, as the BJP plans a series of events to keep the former prime minister's legacy alive.

In a brief ceremony held at BJP's old headquarters on Ashoka Road, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also joined Modi and Shah in handing over the urns to the state party chiefs. The BJP has already announced plans to immerse Vajpayee's ashes in 100 holy rivers, including seven in Karnataka and across the country.

While on Sunday the ashes were immersed in Haridwar and holding a prayer meeting in Delhi on Monday that was attended by leaders of all political hues, the BJP is now planning processions in states carrying Vajpayee's ashes to allow people to offer their tributes. On Thursday, there will be a prayer meeting in Lucknow in memory of Vajpayee.

The party is planning 'Asthi Kalash Yatras', which starts from the state capitals and pass through every block in the state. In a bid to cement Vajpayee's legacy, BJP-ruled states are taking several steps. The Chhattisgarh government has announced that it will name New Raipur as Atal Nagar while Maharashtra has decided to set up chairs in memory of the BJP patriarch in all the 13 universities under it.

In Maharashtra, prayer meetings will be organised in 13 cities next week while one was organised in Mumbai on Wednesday.

The BJP-ruled Himachal Pradesh government is also likely to ask the Centre to name the under-construction Rohtang tunnel that connects Lahaul valley with the rest of the world after Vajpayee.

There are also immediate plans by the Lok Sabha secretariat to bring out a commemorative volume on the veteran BJP leader. This collection is likely to have Vajpayee's Parliamentary speeches and writing on his Parliamentary interventions.

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