Final Journey of Ram Vilas Paswan makes from 12 Janpath:

Final journey of Ram Vilas Paswan makes from 12 Janpath:

The mortal remains of Union Minister and Lok Janshakti Party patriarch Ram Vilas Paswan left 12 Janpath, his home for the last 31 years since 1989, amid slogans of “Goonje Dharti Aasmaan, Ram Vilas Paswan!”. The wooden casket on a truck decked with the white wreaths of flowers and huge posters of his smiling face, moved out on Friday afternoon amid crowds of supporters, party workers and family members.

Mr. Paswan’s body was taken to Patna in an IAF plane. From the airport it will be taken first to the Bihar Assembly and then to the LJP party office. The funeral will be held on Saturday.

At a specially convened meeting of the Union Cabinet earlier in the day, it was decided to accord Mr. Paswan a state funeral.

Mourners lined up outside the Lutyens bungalow from early in the morning, restlessly waiting for a glimpse of the Dalit leader as a series of dignitaries paid their last respects. President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were among the first to offer their condolences. Mr. Modi was accompanied by BJP president J.P. Nadda, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Animal Husbandry Minister Giriraj Singh.

Once the security restrictions lifted, serpentine queues formed inside the house waiting for a last glimpse. Among the opposition leaders NCP leader Sharad Pawar, RJD Rajya Sabha MP Misa Bharati, CPI General Secretary D. Raja and AAP leader Sanjay Singh came to pay homage. Congress Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor was one of the early visitors.

Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi accompanied with party’s Bihar state in-charge Shaktisinh Gohil came in the afternoon. In 2014, Ram Vilas Paswan’s son and current LJP president Chirag Paswan had blamed Mr. Gandhi’s indifference towards them as one of the reasons for their shift from the UPA to the NDA.

In a condolence letter to Mr Chirag Paswan on Friday, Mr Gandhi wrote that in the death of Ram Vilas Paswan, the country has lost a veteran leader who left a lasting imprint on politics and public service both in Bihar and the nation.

By 1 p.m., the Rashtrapati Bhavan announced that the Railway Minister Piyush Goyal would handle additional charge of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution. Minutes after this announcement, Mr. Goyal reached 12 Janpath to offer his condolences.

By afternoon, the flow of visitors ebbed with marty workers standing around in groups recalling their last conversations with Mr. Paswan. His close associates recalled how till the very end, Mr Paswan did not lose his love for food. He wanted his chicken soup from the Press Club of India and craved sandwiches. He had first been admitted to Fortis Escorts Heart Institute for what he in a tweet had claimed was a “routine check up” more than a month back.

The LJP leader had undergone a heart surgery on Saturday night, after which he did not regain consciousness.

The final journey began a little after 3 p.m. As party workers shouted slogans, women workers broke into wails. His wife Reena broke down as Mr. Chirag Paswan helped her into the car.

He then walked through the jostling crowd to the flower-wreathed truck. Once on the truck he was also overcome by emotions, falling to his knees in tears beside the casket as the truck moved out on Mr Paswan’s last journey from 12 Janpath.

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