New Delhi: The mortal remains of former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley were consigned to the flames with full state honours on Sunday amid heavy rain, a day after he passed away.
A virtual Who's Who of the BJP and the Narendra Modi government, the legal fraternity and hundreds of common people were in attendance as the late leader's son, Rohan, performed the last rites. When the funeral pyre was being lit, it started pouring.
Unmindful of the heavy rain, people stood cheek by jowl to have a last glimpse of the leader. A visibly emotional Venkaiah Naidu stood with folded hands for several minutes near the body.
Earlier in the day, a steady stream of mourners -- from partymen to common people, including schoolchildren -- filed past the body which was kept at the BJP headquarters for over two-and-a-half hours.
Amit Shah, J P Nadda, Rajnath Singh and other leaders followed the carriage in their cars from party headquarters to Nigambodh Ghat – the cremation ground.
Senior political leaders cutting across party lines had reached the crematorium. These included Chief Ministers Nitish Kumar, B.S. Yediyurappa, Arvind Kejriwal, Smriti Irani and yoga guru Baba Ramdev.
A minor scuffle broke out between the security forces and the man on the street as the latter tried to enter the party headquarters. The doors were later opened for the common man, following which a long queue formed on the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg to pay their last respects to the BJP stalwart.
By ANANYA BHATNAGAR & ADVITYA BAHL