The air reverberated with chants of ‘Netaji amar rahein’, emotions ran high and the surging crowds broke down barricades as the mortal remains of Samajwadi patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav were consigned to flames in his native village Saifai on Tuesday.
The last rites were performed by Samajwadi president Akhilesh Yadav, who lit the pyre in an emotionally surcharged atmosphere.
The body of the socialist leader was kept at his residence till this morning when it was shifted to a specially erected pandal where people came to pay their respects.
Around 2.p.m , the mortal remains of the leader were shifted to the cremation site where the last rites were performed with full state honours.
Huge crowds were seen in Saifai and all roads were completely blocked as people jostled with each other for a glimpse of the late leader.
Mulayam Singh’s younger brother Shivpal Yadav repeatedly appealed to the people to maintain order and allow the traffic movement.
Several VIPs had to leave their cars and walk to the venue.
Almost every SP leader, worker, legislator and member from all corners of the state was seen in Saifai to offer tributes to the late leader.
Several Uttar Pradesh ministers, including deputy Chief Ministers Keshav Maurya and Brajesh Pathak, Suresh Khanna, Jitin Prasad were seen offering floral tributes to the late leader.
The Yadav clan stood together in their hour of grief. Akhilesh, Shivpal and Dharmendra Yadav broke down several times and were seen consoling each other.
Senior SP leader Mohd Azam Khan, despite poor health, also came to Saifai late last night to pay respects to his long-time friend and associate.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, NCP leaders Sharad Pawar, Praful Patel and Supriya Sule, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, Kamal Nath, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Bihar deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav, Union Minister S.P. Singh Baghel, Congress MPs Mallikarjun Kharge, Pramod Tiwari were among those present.
Reliance chairman Anil Ambani, a close friend of the Yadav clan, was present.
SP MP Jaya Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan were also present.
Earlier in the day, former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu arrived in Saifai and termed the loss as ‘irreparable’.
RLD president Jayant Chaudhary and BJP MP Varun Gandhi were also present. It was an emotional moment when Varun hugged Akhilesh and spoke to him briefly.
Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev accompanied the mortal remains of Mulayam Singh to the cremation site.