Bengaluru, Nov 13 (IANS) Hundreds of people, including BJP patriarch L.K. Advani and the party’s National President Amit Shah, on Tuesday bid farewell to Ananth Kumar, as his mortal remains were cremated at a state funeral with military honours here.
Kumar, 59, died on Monday at a private hospital here due to multiple organ failure.
Even as the Army band sounded the bugle to mark the last rites, a 21-gun salute was given to the body while still in the glass casket draped in the Tricolour.
Kumar’s younger brother Nand Kumar lit the funeral pyre amid chanting of Vedic hymns and loud cries of “Ananth Kumar amar rahe!” (long live Ananth Kumar).
Kumar’s widow Tejeshwani, daughters Aishwariya and Vijeta and other family members were present at the Chamarajpet crematorium in the city’s southwest suburb.
Advani, Shah, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Union Ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Piyush Goyal, Harsh Vardhan and Mahesh Sharma laid wreathes and paid homage.
Karnataka Water Resources Minister D.K. Shivakumar, state legislative council chairman Basavaraj Horatti and Bharatiya Janata Party’s state leaders, including state unit president B.S. Yeddyurappa were present on the solemn occasion.
In view of space constraints at the old crematorium, several people, including party cadres and Kumar’s supporters were restrained from entering the premises.
Vehicular traffic was diverted and security stepped up at the venue to prevent any untoward incident.
The cortege in a flower-bedecked military vehicle was brought in a procession for the last rites from the National College grounds at Basavngudi where it was kept for public viewing.
Thousands of people, including Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, former Prime Minister and JD-S supremo H.D. Deve Gowda and others paid tributes to Kumar at the venue.
Earlier in the day, Kumar’s body was shifted from his residence at Basavangudi to the BJP state unit office in Malleshwaram by the military personnel from the Army, Air Force and Navy.
Kumar was Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs since 2016 and Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers since 2014 when the BJP-led NDA government was formed under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Modi flew into the city on Monday night and paid last respects to Kumar at his residence.
A six-time parliamentarian from the high-profile Bengaluru South Lok Sabha constituency since 1996, Kumar was undergoing treatment for cancer in the UK and US since late August.
Karnataka is observing a three-day mourning since Monday.