By Rohan Agarwal
New Delhi, Aug 7 (IANS) Heavy security was in place at the Dayanand crematorium on Lodhi Road on Wednesday evening as top leaders including Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached for the last rites of former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, but apart from the VIPs, common people had also come to pay their final respects.
A small stretch outside the crematorium was blocked on one side for about 15 minutes, as Prime Minister Modi, Home Minister and BJP chief Amit Shah and veteran party leader L.K. Advani, among others, came to bid farewell.
Earlier, her supporters followed the convoy which took her mortal remains from the BJP headquarters near the ITO crossing to the crematorium, chanting “Sushma Ji amar rahe” and “Jab tak suraj chand rahega, Sushma ji ka naam rahega” in unison till the convoy reached the crematorium.
Eranna who belongs to Karnataka’s Ballari – from once she had contested a parliamentary election – and lives in a leprosy ashram here said: “She used to celebrate her birthday every year with us in the ashram situated in R.K. Puram area (of south Delhi). Since she was dealing with health issues for last two years, her staff would reach to us during these two years.”
Another Sushma Swaraj supporter, Ram Shankar Ojha of Bihar was all praise for her truthful nature. “She would never commit anything that was impossible. There were times when I sought her help for a cause, but everytime she used to be true and deny help if it was not possible.”
Sushma Swaraj, who also served Chief Minister of Delhi and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha amid other posts, was rendered full state honours before her body was cremated in the electric crematorium.
Bhutan’s Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, several leaders of the ruling National Democratic Alliance as well as the opposition, were present.
The 67-year-old veteran BJP leader passed away on Tuesday night following a cardiac arrest. Her body was kept at the Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters in the heart of the capital for public to pay homage.
(Rohan Agarwal can be contacted at [email protected] )