Samajwadi Party founder and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav was cremated with full state honors at his native village Saifai in Etawah district on Tuesday amid a sea of people, including top politicians, across the country. The former chief minister’s son Akhilesh Yadav wearing janeu over his black jacket lit the pyre.
The veteran socialist leader passed away aged 82 at Medanta Hospital in Gurugram on Monday. His mortal remains were brought to Saifai on Monday evening and kept at his ‘kothi’ where people poured in to pay their last respects to “Netaji”, as Yadav was affectionately called.
A huge sea of people recited “Netaji amar rahein” (long live netaji!) as a vehicle carried the mortal remains of Yadav for his last rites.
With hundreds lined up for the final darshan amid the drizzle, Yadav’s body was moved around 10am on Tuesday from the house to a bigger hall on the Mela Ground premises, around one km away, to allow people to pay their last respects.
Other than Akhilesh, Yadav’s brother Shivpal Yadav and other family members were onboard the truck decked up with wreaths of flowers. A huge crowd of people marched along as the vehicle moved slowly on the concrete street of the village.
Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu and BJP leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi also were among the leaders who arrived early at the Saifai Mela Ground pandal.
Party workers and people in their hundreds – riding cycles, motorcycles, cars, SUVs, and other means of transport – arrived at Saifai from areas nearby and places far off Tuesday morning for the final rites.
The whole Saifai village looked like a sea of whites as people from all walks of life came out of their houses in their whites, some on rooftops, some climbing the trees along the route and some making an attempt to just touch the vehicle that carried their beloved leader, their ‘Dhartiputra’ – son of the soil.
Defense minister Rajnath Singh, Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar also arrived during the day.