Mulayam's body arrives at native Saifai village, people throng to pay tributes 


Photo: ANI

Etawah: Chants of "Netaji amar rahein" reverberated across Saifai as people from across length and breadth of Uttar Pradesh thronged socialist leader Mulayam Singh Yadav's native village for his last darshan Monday.

Yadav died on Monday morning at a private hospital in Gurugram and his mortal remains reached here in the evening.

The body of the Samajwadi Party patriarch has been kept at his 'kothi' and the cremation will take place on Tuesday afternoon.

While grief-struck commoners and party supporters stood in queues, it wasn't easier for "VIPs" as well with multiple current and former UP legislative assembly members trying hard to gain entry into the kothi.

"Sir, there are instructions to us that no VIP treatment is meted out to anyone," a private security official told an MLC and a former MLC, denying them a backdoor entry.

Besides a large number of people who waited for the mortal remains at the venue, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, former MP Dharmendra Yadav and other family members were present when the body was taken out from an ambulance.

Mulayam's brother Shivpal Yadav was seen comforting Akhilesh Yadav, placing his hand on his shoulder as the latter broke down.

Soon after the body was laid for the last "darshans", Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Jal Shakti Minister Swatantra Dev Singh and BJP state president Bhupendra Singh Chaudhary arrived and paid their tributes. They also extended their condolences to Akhilesh Yadav.

According to an official statement issued in Lucknow, Adityanath reached Saifai and paid tributes to former chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav. He also paid floral tributes on behalf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel and the Uttar Pradesh government, it said.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Chhatisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel and Bihar CM Nitesh Kumar are likely to arrive here.

Traders in the district have decided to keep the markets closed on October 11 as a mark of respect to the leader.

According to a senior official, in view of a large number of people including VVIPs, VIPs expected to arrive for the darshan of the late leader, tight security arrangements have been made. A large number of locals, party workers, leaders and women are continuously reaching Saifai village to extend their condolences and pay tributes to the departed soul.

"He was like God to us," Jaikesh Yadav, who arrived here with scores of people from Etah district, some 150 km away, told PTI as he struggled to gain entry for the darshan.

Indrajit Singh Yadav said he left home in Jaunpur while Rahul Singh Yadav came from Prayagraj after the news of Yadav's demise broke out.

A private security official manning the queues estimated that well around 10,000 people had paid last respects till 9.30 pm.

Among those struggling to gain entry was a 72-year-old man, hailing from a nearby village.

"I had a surgery on my leg several years ago and it's permanently disabled," the elderly man told PTI and recalled Yadav as a "great leader".

The pradhan of Saifai, Ramphal Valmiki, said people from all over the country and various districts of Uttar Pradesh, who had been in touch with 'Netaji' or were his followers, both political and non-political, will reach here to pay their last respects.

A huge pandal has been set up at the place where the last rites will be performed for people to sit and watch, Valmiki said.

All members of Netaji's family are present in Saifai, he added.

Yadav, a former defence minister who had also served as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh three times, passed away at 82 on Monday.

PTI

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