President, PM, Sunita Williams, pay tributes to Gandhi

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New Delhi, Oct 2 (UNI) President Pratibha Patil led the nation in paying rich tributes to the Father of the Nation at the Gandhi Samadhi here this morning.

Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also visited the Samadhi at Raj Ghat to pay tributes to the Mahatma on his birth anniversary.

Indian-born astronaut Sunita Williams also paid tributes at the Samadhi along with her father Mr Dipak Pandya.

Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Defence Minister A K Antony, Minister of State in PMO Prithviraj Chavan, Former Prime Minister I K Gujral, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot were among other prominent personalaties who visited the place.

An all-religion prayer meeting was held to mark the occasion in which priests of Buddhism, Judaism, Sikhism and Jainism along with Islam and Hinduism participated.

Several school children also paid tributes to beloved Bapu while hundreds of women and youth came to pay respect to Mahatma Gandhi on his 138th birth anniversary.

The leaders and dignitaries offered floral tributes on the Samadhi before participating in the all religion prayer meeting.

The function which began on 0730 hrs lasted about one and half hour. Bapu's favourite song ''Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram' and 'Vaishnav Jan to Tene Kahiye Je' rent the air before and after the function.

Even after of main function, the stream of visitors kept pouring at Raj Ghat for offering prayers and tributes to the beloved Father of the Nation.

On the relevance of Gandhi in today's life, Ms Williams said ''He was a man of humanity who stood for humanity.'' UNI

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