Atal Bihari Vajpayee funeral LIVE: Last rites to be performed at Vijay Ghat today

Atal Bihari Vajpayee funeral Live Updates: The former prime minister died after battling a prolonged illness at the AIIMS on Thursday. He was 93.

Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away on Thursday after battling a prolonged illness at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). He was 93. The charismatic leader who stayed bachelor throughout his life is survived by his adopted daughter Namita Kaul Bhattacharya.

Vajpayee will be accorded a state funeral Friday afternoon and the final rites will be performed at the Smriti Sthal on the banks of the Yamuna. The government has announced seven days of state mourning. The Ministry of Home Affairs said the national flag would be flown at half-mast from Thursday for seven days across the country.

Over 5 lakh people, including VVIPs, politicians and dignitaries, are expected to be present at the BJP party office as well as the Rashtriya Smriti Sthal near Rajghat Friday. More than 2,000 Delhi Armed Police (DAP) and paramilitary police, along with force from three districts — Central, North, and New Delhi — will be on the ground to make sure that the funeral is conducted smoothly. As many as 20 companies of the DAP and hundreds of paramilitary personnel will be guarding the cremation ground. Delhi traffic police have closed 25 arterial roads, starting 8 am.

Live Blog

Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away on Thursday at AIIMS. His funeral will be held today. Read in Bangla, Malayalam and Tamil

Welcome to our LIVE blog. Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who passed away on Thursday,  will be cremated at the Smriti Sthal on the banks of the Yamuna today. Over five lakh people are expected to be present there and more than  2,000 Delhi Armed Police (DAP) and paramilitary police, along with force from three districts — Central, North, and New Delhi — will be on the ground to make sure the funeral goes smoothly. Follow to track the latest updates.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee funeral LIVE updates: The former PM was awarded India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna, in March 2015.

Also Read | Tears, grief across political faultlines, state funeral today | PM Modi’s tribute: Vajpayee overcame the hesitation of our nation | Off camera, a PhD student in mourning to a PWD worker on the job

Calling Vajpayee’s death a “personal loss”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it marks the end of an era. He said the BJP patriarch lived for the nation and served it assiduously for decades while noting that it was Vajpayee’s exemplary leadership that set the foundations for a strong, prosperous and inclusive India in the 21st century. “Atal Ji’s passing away is a personal and irreplaceable loss for me. I have countless fond memories of him. He was an inspiration to Karyakartas like me. I will particularly remember his sharp intellect and outstanding wit. It was Atal Ji’s exemplary leadership that set the foundations for a strong, prosperous and inclusive India in the 21st century. His futuristic policies across various sectors touched the lives of each and every citizen of India,” Modi tweeted. He said it was due to Vajpayee’s perseverance and struggles that the BJP was built brick by brick.

Vajpayee was awarded India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna, in March 2015. During his second term as prime minister, Vajpayee ordered nuclear tests in May 1998 in a strategic masterstroke to blunt Pakistan’s nuclear ambitions. He followed this up with peace overtures to Pakistan, riding on the first direct bus from India to Pakistan in February 1999.

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