Mahajan's final journey ends
Mumbai, May 4: BJP strategist Pramod Mahajan's final journey ended with his cremation today at Shivaji Park, where he was anointed 'Lakshman' by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajapyee at the party's national convention in December last year.
Mortally wounded by gunfire on April 22 allegedly by his younger brother Pravin, the promising career of the 56-year-old 'troubleshooter' of the party concluded yesterday in the Hinduja hospital where he died after battling for 12 days.
His mortal remains were consigned to flames amid chanting of vedic hymns at the Shivaji Park this afternoon, after a phalanx of VIPs led by Vice President Bhairon Singh Sekhawat paid their respects to the dynamic leader, who had catapulted the BJP to power at the Centre.
Amid slogans of ''Pramod Mahajan Amar Rahe and Jab Tak Suraj Chand Rahega Pramod Tera Naam Rahega'' by thousands of mourners, comprising mostly party workers and sympathisers, the pyre of the 'Gen-Next' leader was lit by his only son Rahul. He consoled his only sister Poonam, who broke down as the flames leapt up in the sky.
Rekha and Prabhavati, the wife and mother of Mr Mahajan, stayed back at the residence of his brother-in-law Gopinath Munde in Worli.
Both had broken down this morning on seeing the body of Mr Mahajan brought home from the party office.
Prakash, the younger brother of the deceased, had to struggle hard to take away his mother who clung to the body.
The family of Pravin did not attend the funeral. Pravin's wife Sarangi had informed police of their decision when they went to his Thane house to enquire about it.
Pravin, who was arrested after he surrendered to police on April 22, is lodged in Arthur Road jail here since yesterday after spending 12 days in police custody. Accused of pumping three bullets point-blank into Mr Mahajan at the latter's Worli apartment, Pravin has now been charged with murder, under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.
Police gave a salute to the departed leader after the pyre of Mr Mahajan was lit. A police officer was heard reprimanding leader of the 16-cop contingent who gave the salute by firing three rounds of shots into the air at the State funeral held for Mr Mahajan, who was the Defence Minister in the 13-day Vajpayee Government. After the last post was sounded by a police bugler, cops reversed arms as a mark of respect to Mahajan.