Politicians cutting across party lines gathered at the Lodhi Road crematorium on Thursday for the funeral of George Fernandes, the 88-year-old firebrand socialist politician and the hero of the Emergency, who died on Tuesday.
When the Army vehicle with the former Union Minister’s casket was on way to the crematorium, his old socialist friend and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was the first political leader to reach the venue. He was followed by Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha, Harivansh Narayan Singh.
As the body of Fernandes was brought into the crematorium, Army band members played a funeral dirge. An officer from defence forces was the first to offer floral tributes to Fernandes on behalf of the President.
As the Army vehicle entered, a group of people raised slogans — “Fernandes amar rahe”, “Kranti Putra amar rahen”, “Samajwad zindabad” and “Vande Mataram”.
Former JD(U) president Sharad Yadav, also close to Fernandes, reached the venue and was spotted sitting next to Nitish Kumar, with whom he has parted ways.
Other prominent faces from the BJP were Union Ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Harsh Vardhan and Suresh Prabhu. Union Minister and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan was also present.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar reached the funeral to pay tributes, and so did RLSP president Upendra Kushwaha.
A group of Tibetan people recited a prayer for Fernandes, citing his activism for the community as a social worker.
The ashes of Fernandes will be buried at the Christian Cemetery at Prithviraj Road on Friday.