V.P. Singh to be cremated Saturday noon (Lead)

November 28th, 2008 - 10:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Allahabad, Nov 28 (IANS) Former prime minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh will be cremated Saturday noon on the banks of the ‘Sangam’, the holy confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers in Allahabad, it was announced here. The body of Singh, who died after a prolonged illness at Delhi’s Apollo Hospital Thursday, was flown in here by a special aircraft Friday afternoon.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati announced a seven-day state mourning. A public holiday has been declared in Allahabad Saturday and all commercial establishments will also remain shut as a mark of respect to the former prime minister.

Singh’s body was driven down in an open carriage straight to his home, Manda House, named after the erstwhile princely state of Manda near Allahabad. As he was the scion of the erstwhile ruling family of Manda’s principality, he was often called ‘Raja saheb’.

Mayawati visited Manda House later in the evening to pay her last respects to Singh. Singh had been chief minister between 1980 and 1982.

Singh’s eldest son Ajeya Singh, who lives in Allahabad, will perform the last rites.

Prominent among political leaders expected to attend Singh’s funeral on Saturday include West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and film actor turned MP Raj Babbar.

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