Funeral procession of former Prime Minister starts

November 29th, 2008 - 3:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Allahabad, Nov 29 (IANS) Grief-stricken mourners lined the streets Saturday as the body of former prime minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh was carried out of his ancestral home at the start of the funeral procession here. A large number of politicians, cutting across party lines, including Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and others - both close associates of the former prime minister in the eighties - were present in the funeral procession.

He will be cremated in afternoon on the banks of the Sangam, the holy confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers. His eldest son Ajeya Singh, who lives in Allahabad, will perform the last rites.

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 and taken straight to his home, Manda House, named after the erstwhile princely state of Manda near Allahabad.

A scion of the erstwhile ruling family of the state, he was often called ‘Raja saheb’.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati visited Manda House Friday evening to pay her respects to Singh. She also announced a seven-day state mourning for the former prime minister, who also served as the Uttar Pradesh chief minister between 1980 and 1982.

A public holiday has been declared in Allahabad Saturday and all commercial establishments will also remain shut as a mark of respect to Singh.

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