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A huge deluge of people from different walks of life congregated, as mortal remains of octogenarian Congress leader Virbhadra Singh was cremated with full state honours at his native place Rampur on Saturday .
Six-time former Chief Minister, Singh (87) breathed his last after prolonged illness at Indira Gandhi Medical College and hospital Shimla in the wee hours of Thursday morning.
His last three-day journey right from his private residence Shimla to his native place had lakhs of people paying their last respects.
As soon as his body was brought to Padam Palace on Friday evening, the people of the area waiting rent the air with cries of ‘ Raja Sahab amar rahe’ (Long live the King), ‘Dheko-dheko kaun aya, sher aya, sher aya’ (Look a lion has come).
He was the 122nd scion of the royal family of Rampur-Bushahr in 1947 even though India had attained independence and was most revered as ‘Raja Bushahr’.
Earlier, during the day thousands of people including political leaders and people across the state including those from the remotest areas of Shimla district and adjoining Kullu, Mandi, Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti visited Padam Palace paid their heartfelt homage to their beloved leader.
A symbolic ‘Raj tilak, coronation ceremony as per the traditions of the erstwhile princely state of Bushahr, carrying forward the family legacy, was performed in the morning before the cremation, making his son Vikramaditiya Singh (31) the titular successor and 123rd scion of the Royal Rampur-Bushahr.
Later, his mortal remains were consigned to the flames at ‘Jogni Baag’ the crematorium of the royal family at Rampur on the banks of river Satluj.
His son Vikramaditiya Singh sitting MLA Shimla (Rural) performed the last rites.
Besides Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and other BJP ministers and leaders, the funeral was attended by Senior Congress leaders including Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, former union Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, Anand Sharma and Rajeev Shukla and other state leaders.
Teary eyed people expressed collective trauma and grief that has befallen them with the loss of their ever-loving popular leader.
Singh had ruled the hearts of the people of the state for over five decades and was the ‘leader of the masses’, an architect of modern Himachal Pradesh, he had brought uniform development across the state.
Grief stricken, people who always elevated him to near-divine status, ‘Devta’, drawing parallel with the local deities, said that they had now been orphaned and the passing away of Virbhadra Singh, has brought an end of an era.