New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah and other senior leaders including L.K. Advani and Sitaram Yechury, and thousands of people paid their tributes as the mortal remains of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee reached the party's central office here on Friday.
Modi, Shah receive Vajpayee's body at BJP HQ, leaders pay tributes
The body, draped in the national flag reached the 6-A Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg headquarters in a procession which was joined by a large number of people from different parts of the country who chanted "Jab tak sooraj chand rahega, Atalji ka naam rahega", "Bharat Mata ki jai" and "Vande Mataram" in unision to pay their tributes to the departed leader.
The body was brought from the Krishna Menon Marg residence of the former Prime Minister in a flower-decked hearse drawn by a military truck.
Modi, Shah, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath stood in silence near the gate as the body arrived.
They later paid their tributes by offering flowers to the body of the late leader. The mortal remains were kept in front of a large smiling picture of Vajpayee. A party flag had been placed on each side of the photograph.
Advani, a long-time associate of Vajpayee, visited the new party office to pay his tributes.
Communist Party of India-Marxist General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and CPI leader D. Raja also paid their tributes.
Among those present were union ministers, chief ministers, state ministers, MPs, MLAs and BJP office-bearers.
As the casket reached the party office, people turned emotional and some of them had tears in their eyes in memory of their beloved leader who had a pan-India appeal.
They had gathered outside the party office in large numbers since morning to pay their tributes. Security men had a hard time keeping the crowds in check.
A woman from Darjeeling even jumped the gate to get inside the party office.
Vajpayee will be given a state funeral at around 4 p.m. at the Rashtriya Smriti Sthal on the banks of the Yamuna. His last journey from the party headquarters to Sthal will begin at 1 p.m.
The country is observing a seven-day state mourning as a mark of respect for the leader who had been decorated with Bharat Ratna and was very popular. The tricolour is flying half-staff.
Delhi government offices, schools and institutions are closed on Friday and central government offices will work for half-a-day.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and chiefs of the Army, Navy and the Air Force has earlier visited Vajpayee's official residence to pay their tributes.
Vajpayee had passed away at the AIIMS on Thursday evening.