The capital’s political class Tuesday set aside differences and drove to the BJP headquarters to pay their last respects to Gopinath Munde.
While Sonia Gandhi wrote a letter to Munde’s wife sharing her grief, Rahul Gandhi drove to the BJP office to pay his last respects. “I understand the pain is unbearable for you and your family and mere words of solace are not enough. There are some incidents in life on which one has no control and one has to bear with them… Hailing from a humble background, Munde made a mark in social and political life by the dint of his hard work, polite behaviour and commitment towards the backward classes, which is a source of inspiration for all,” Sonia wrote.
PM Narendra Modi, who paid his last respects, tweeted, “Hailing from backward sections of society, he rose to great heights and tirelessly served people,” and described “his friend and colleague” Munde’s death as a “major loss for the nation & the Govt”.
Apart from the BJP’s L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Rajnath Singh, the RSS’s Mohan Bhagwat, Bhaiyyaji Joshi and Suresh Soni, and the VHP’s Ashok Singhal too went to the BJP headquarters.
Accompanied by Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat, Rahul made his way through the crowd of BJP workers to pay his last respects. He spoke for a few minutes to former BJP chief Venkaiah Naidu, BJP general secretaries J P Nadda and Ramlal. Munde’s rival in Maharashtra Sharad Pawar too was at the BJP headquarters.
President Pranab Mukheree sent a wreath. Vice-president Hamid Ansari dropped in to pay his last respects, and a wreath was placed on behalf of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Union ministers Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Ravi Shankar Prasad, A Gajapathi Raju and Ananth Kumar were at the party headquarters. Venkaiah Naidu and Smriti Irani stood near the body. Ram Vilas Paswan, Harsimarat Kaur Badal and Sharad Yadav offered their condolences to Munde’s daughter Pankaja.
Rajnath Singh will attend Munde’s funeral in Beed tomorrow, accompanied by Advani and Nitin Gadkari. Others likely to travel with them include Irani, Ananth Kumar and party general secretary Ramlal.
According to police, the woman executive was allegedly raped by 32-year-old Yadav on the night of December 5, 2014.