Former President Pranab Mukherjee’s funeral was held in New Delhi on Tuesday with full military honours. His son Abhijit Mukherjee performed the last rites, ANI reported. He died on Monday in the national Capital at the Indian Army’s Research and Referral Hospital after which the Centre announced a seven-day state mourning.
His body arrived at Lodhi Road crematorium accompanied by his family members and relatives in a hearse, PTI reported. A gun carriage was not used to carry the former president’s body because of coronavirus-related protocols, according to NDTV.
Various politicians, cutting across party lines, paid their tributes to the former president at his Delhi residence at 10 Rajaji Marg. Those who arrived to pay their last respect included Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, Bharatiya Janata Party President Jagat Prakash Nadda and Communist Party of India leader D Raja.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also paid homage to Mukherjee.
The Ministry of Home Affairs condoled the former president’s demise and held a two-minute silence in his memory. Union Home Minister Amit Shah expressed grief at Mukherjee’s demise and said that he always played a constructive role when in Opposition. “It’s a sad day that Pranab Mukherjee isn’t among us anymore,” he said. “He had expertise in taking everyone together. When in power, he always struck a balance with those in Opposition. When in Opposition, he never stepped away from playing a constructive role.”
Mukherjee had undergone a brain surgery on August 10 and was in a critical condition and on ventilator support since then. Before the surgery, he had announced that he was diagnosed with the coronavirus infection.
The former president’s health had worsened on Sunday due to a lung infection. He had gone into a septic shock due to the infection.
Mukherjee served as India’s 13th President from 2012 to 2017, and was succeeded by Ram Nath Kovind. He had been a Cabinet minister in the United Progressive Alliance government, handling the portfolio of external affairs and finance on separate occasions. He was also the finance minister in the Indira Gandhi government from 1982 to 1984 and the external affairs minister in the Narasimha Rao government from 1995 to 1996.
In 2019, he was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award. In 2008, he had been awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian award.