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PV's body consigned to flames

Last updated on: December 25, 2004 15:41 IST

Amidst Vedic chants, former prime minister P V Narasimha Rao's mortal remains were consigned to flames with full state honours on the banks of Hussainsagar Lake in Hyderabad on Saturday afternoon.

His eldest son P V Ranga Rao lit the pyre with his brothers Rajeshwar and Prabhakar by his side, as men of the Gorkha Regiment sounded the Last Post and a 21-gun salute was given.

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was initiated into politics by Rao and was his finance minister, attended the funeral along with his wife Gursharan Kaur.

Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Congress president Sonia Gandhi's representatives Motilal Vora and Ashok Gehlot, Andhra Pradesh Governor Sushilkumar Shinde and Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy were among the Congress leaders who attended the last rites.

Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Lal Kishenchand Advani, former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu and Bharatiya Janata Party leader M Venkaiah Naidu were among the opposition leaders present.

The PM and other leaders placed flowers on the body before the pyre was lit.

A large number of mourners, including villagers from his hometown Vangara in Karimnagar district, were there to bid farewell to Rao, who was the first person from the south to become prime minister.

Earlier, the funeral procession started from Jubilee Hall at around noon as thousands of mourners paid their last respects to the departed leader.

The procession made its way through the heart of the city before reaching the cremation site near Sanjivayya Park on the banks of the lake.

The body, draped in Tricolour, was taken out on a flower-bedecked gun carriage with full military honours.

Two army jeeps piloted the carriage.

Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad