Kalaburgi (Karnataka), July 28 (IANS) Thousands of people bid a tearful adieu to former Karnataka Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh at a state funeral at his farmhouse near here on Friday.
Dharam Singh died on Thursday at a private hospital in Bengaluru following a massive heart attack earlier during the day. He was 80.
The State Reserve Police gave a 21-gun salute to the veteran politician and sounded the bugle before the cremation at Nelogi village in the presence of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjuna Kharge, a few Cabinet Ministers, many lawmakers, relatives, and friends.
People from this old Hyderabad-Karnataka region, about 650 km from Bengaluru, flocked to Kalaburgi to pay their last respects to Dharma Singh, whose body was kept at the Nutan Vidyalaya grounds in the city centre to enable his followers to pay homage.
Dharam Singh’s eldest son Vijay Singh lit the pyre before sunset after Hindu priests performed religious rituals.
The cortege was flown to Bidar from Bengaluru by a special flight on Thursday night and then to Kalaburgi through state highway as hundreds of people gathered en route to catch last glimpse of the body wrapped in the Tricolour.
On way to the village farm, Dharam Singh’s body was taken to his hometown Jewergi.
Dharam Singh is survived by his wife Prabhavathi, two sons Vijay Singh and Ajay Singh, and daughter Priyadarshini.
The state government on Thursday declared a three-day mourning in honour of Singh. Government offices and educational institutions were closed on Friday in Kalaburgi and Bidar districts.
A veteran Congress leader for over six decades, Singh was the Chief Minister of the first coalition government in the southern state from May 28, 2004, to February 3, 2006, along with the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S).
He was an MP from Bidar from 2009-2014 and a record seven-time legislator from the Jewargi in the state’s northern district of Kalaburgi from 1978-2008.