Delhi bids final farewell to VP Singh

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New Delhi, Nov 28: Poignant scenes were witnessed as the body of former Prime Minister V P Singh in a flower-bedecked hearse was taken to his native town Manda in Allahabad district from here today.

An army band led the procession followed by soldiers from different units of the Indian army.

Thousands of heavy-hearted and teary-eyed mourners lined the roads right from the Rajaji Marg to 1, Teen Murti Marg, the official residence of Singh, to pay their last respects to the 'Raja of Manda' they loved and respected.

As soon as the body, draped in the national flag, was placed in a gun carriage of the Indian army and taken in a procession, Hindu priests started chanting 'shlokas' and those present almost went hysteric shouting slogans 'V P Singh Amar Rahe' (Long live V P Singh) with some crying inconsolably.
As the procession wound its way to the Airport, from where his body will be taken to Allahabad by a Defence aircraft, there were many wet eyes beyond the barricades. Some women wept as it passed by.

From the early hours of the morning, the official residence of Singh, where his body had been lying in state since last evening after being brought from Apollo Hospital, saw Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil among a flood of VIPs streaming in from far and wide to bid the final adieu.

The 77-year-old Singh, who passed away yesterday after a prolonged illness, will be accorded a state funeral at Allahabad tomorrow.

Earlier, the cremation was scheduled for today but after some deliberations his family decided to postpone it by a day.

Singh had been battling cancer and kidney disease.

Others who visited Singh's house included Defence Minister A K Antony, former Prime Minister I K Gujral and CPI leaders A B Bardhan and D Raja.

The Central Government has announced a seven-day state mourning.

All national flags will fly at half mast and there will be no official entertainment during the period.


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