Scooter, bus, train: People negotiate their way to reach Delhi for Vajpayee.
New Delhi: A young man from Uttar Pradesh rode a scooter, another flew in from Tamil Nadu. Some travelled by trains and buses and there were many who did it all to reach Delhi in time to pay their last respects to Atal Behari Vajpayee.
Separated by distance, these men and women were united by their admiration for the former Prime Minister, who died on Thursday at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences after prolonged illness.
Not alone in their endeavour, they found thousands of other people who had come to the national capital to pay their homage.
Aakash Kumar, 25, rode his scooter from Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh, covering a distance of around 70 km. He said Vajpayee’s “Kaal ke kapaal pe likhta aur mitaata hoon” is his favourite poem.
“I was probably in Class 3 or 4, when I heard one of his speeches and got drawn towards him. I really liked his poems,” Aakash Kumar told PTI.
Chinnaiah Nadesan (45), along with his friend Ganesan (38), had taken a flight from Chennai on Thursday night to reach Delhi. After he landed at the airport at around 4.30 am, he headed straight to 6A Krishna Menon Marg — Vajpayee’s residence where his mortal remains were kept for people to pay their last respects.
Clad in a white shirt and mundu, worn around the waist, and topped by an angavastram, Nadesan said he is a naturalist as he stood barefoot on the road outside the residence. “Achcha politician, achcha parliamentarian, pure man,” he said in a mix of Hindi and English after paying his homage.
An astonishing size of crowd from various parts of the country had gathered in Delhi to pay their homage in a significant demonstration of national unity and solidarity.
Amid sultry weather conditions, thousands also walked along the seven-km-long route from the BJP headquarters to Rastriya Smriti Sthal, where Vajpayee’s last rites were to be performed. But Aakash Kumar, standing outside the BJP headquarters, said he had been waiting for hours to see Vajpayee for the last time.
“The flowers I have brought have dried up in this heat,” he said.
Sonu Gupta (32) drove his auto from Patel Nagar in Central Delhi to the Krishna Menon Marg residence.
“I came in my own auto but had to leave it near Central Secretariat Metro station due to traffic regulations. I think I must have walked over 1.5 km to reach here,” he said, holding a red-coloured bouquet.