Nation bids tearful adieu to Pranab Mukherjee

Nation bids tearful adieu to Pranab Mukherjee


Former President and Bharat Ratna Pranab Mukherjee’s last rites were performed with full military honour at the Lodhi Road crematorium in south Delhi on Tuesday amid strict adherence to social distancing norms because of the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak that forced a limited presence of family and his friends.

The former President (84) died on Monday evening, 22 days after has admitted to the Army Hospital (Research and Referral) in south Delhi to undergo a surgical procedure to remove a brain clot from which he never recovered. He had also tested Covid-19 positive during his treatment in the hospital.

Mukherjee’s mortal remains were brought to his residence at 10, Rajaji Marg earlier on Tuesday morning, where President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice-president M Venkaiah Naidu, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, former PM Manmohan Singh, BJP president JP Nadda, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, chiefs of the three services and a host of dignitaries paid their tribute.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal also paid his homage.

“Paid tributes to respected Shri Pranab Mukherjee. He would be remembered by generations for his efforts towards India’s progress,” PM Modi tweeted after paying a floral tribute to the leader, who he considered to be his mentor and a father-figure.

The Union Cabinet observed a two-minute silence in memory of Mukherjee, who had served as the Union minister for finance, defence and external affairs during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA) rule between 2004 and 2014, among his other portfolios and roles in his long and distinguished career in public life.

“The Cabinet expresses profound sorrow at the sad demise of Pranab Mukherjee, former President of India. In his passing away, the country has lost a distinguished leader and an outstanding parliamentarian,” the Cabinet said in a resolution.

The former President was taken for the last rites in a hearse van instead of the gun carriage with the pallbearers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) kits as per the Covid-19 protocol.

He was cremated in an electric crematorium and his son Abhijit performed the last rites.

“His presence was support for our family, we’ll miss him. I feel Covid-19 was not the main factor for his death rather it was the brain operation. I had plans to take him to West Bengal but due to current restrictions we couldn’t do so,” Abhijit told news agency ANI shortly after the cremation.