Vajpayee’s mortal remains consigned to flames

Vajpayee's adopted daughter Namita Bhattacharya conducted the last rites. (Screengrab)

As the nation mourned, the mortal remains of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee were consigned to flames at the Rashtriya Smriti Sthal on Friday.

Vajpayee's body, draped in the national flag, was brought to Smriti Sthal at around 3.45 pm amid chants of Vedic mantras, while a sea of humanity accompanied them chanting "Atal Amar Rahe" (Long Live Atal) and Vande Mataram. The tricolour which was draped on the body was handed over to his granddaughter Niharika.

Vajpayee's adopted daughter Namita Bhattacharya conducted the last rites.

The 93-year-old leader, who is credited with cementing the BJP's place in the country's political history, breathed his last on Thursday evening at AIIMS where he was admitted since June 11.

Vajpayee was accorded a state funeral. As his body was being consigned to flames, military personnel gave Vajpayee a gun salute.

A galaxy of leaders, including President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, veteran leader LK Advani, RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi were present at Smriti Sthal.

Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, Sri Lanka acting Foreign Minister Lakshman Kiriella and Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai were also present.

Earlier in the day, his body was brought to BJP headquarters from Vajpayee's official residence where a large number of people paid their last respects to the departed leader.

From there, Vajpayee's mortal remains were taken to the funeral venue in a flower-decked gun carriage. Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and others walked along with the gun carriage while a sea of humanity accompanied them.

Modi and other senior leaders also placed wreaths at the funeral place.

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