Former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, who passed away at All India Institute of Medical Sciences around 5 pm on Thursday, will be cremated at 4pm at Rashtriya Smriti Sthal in New Delhi, an official announcement said.
In 2013, it was decided that last rites of all the departed national leaders will be held at Rashtriya Smriti Sthal along the Yamuna river in the national capital.
The government has announced seven-day mourning as a mark of respect to the former prime minister.
The body of former prime minister has been kept at BJP headquarters at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg where political leaders and commoners alike are paying their last respect to the great leader.
The funeral procession will start from the BJP headquarters atp 1 pm.
Penning down his thoughts on the political stalwart who dominated the Bharatiya Janata Party and Right Wing politics for decades, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called him “the rarest of human beings” in his blog on Friday.
“In times of turbulence and disruption, a nation is blessed to have a leader who rises to become its moral compass and guiding spirit, providing vision, cohesion and direction to his people. And, in such a moment at the turn of the century, India found one in Atal Behari Vajpayee, who was gifted in spirit, heart and mind.
For those of us who knew him, he was, first, the rarest of human beings, who touched and inspired everyone he met. He was compassionate to the core, generous in spirit, warm beyond measure and kind to a fault. He was deeply respectful of others and gifted with a rare sense of humour that he often turned upon himself,” Modi wrote.
As a mark of respect for the statesman that Vajpayee was, the US Embassy to India wrote, “The United States grieves with India on the loss of former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. He will be remembered for his immense contribution in bolstering US-India relations. During his tenure, Prime Minister Vajpayee advocated for a robust partnership with the United States, referring to us as “natural allies.” The US Mission in India extends our deepest condolences to the family of former Prime Minister Vajpayee and the citizens of India.
Vajpayee, a Bharat Ratna awardee, was a popular leader across political spectrum. “Today India lost a great son. Former PM, Atal Behari Vajpayee ji, was loved and respected by millions. My condolences to his family & all his admirers. We will miss him,” Tweeted Congress president Rahul Gandhi as he condoled the BJP stalwart’s death.
“India is at a great loss today. Shri #AtalBihariVajpayee ji’s contributions to our nation have been innumerable. Thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones,” tweeted cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar.