Thousands of people lined up on the road to pay their last respects to Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh whose body arrived in Latur on Wednesday morning.
The body of Deshmukh, who passed away at the Global Hospital in Chennai on Tuesday, was flown in an Air Force plane to Latur. On way to his native village Babhalgaon, the procession of the vehicle carrying Deshmukh's body was impeded by thousands of mourners who blocked traffic on the main road in a bid to have a last glimpse of the leader.
Shops and commercial establishments in Latur have downed shutters since Tuesday soon after the news of Deshmukh's passing away reached them.
Police sources said seven lakh people are expected to attend Deshmukh's last rites.
The body will be kept at a special stage erected in Dayanand Vidyalaya premises at the village to enable people to pay tributes from 10 am to 2 pm, sources said.
Between 2 pm and 3 pm, the body will be taken to Deshmukh's ancestral home for religious rites.
Deshmukh's mortal remains would be consigned to flames around 4 pm at his farm at Babhalgaon, close to the place where his father Dagdojirao was cremated.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi will arrive in Latur around noon to pay their last respects to the senior Congress leader.
Those expected to attend the last rites include Union ministers Sharad Pawar and Sushilkumar Shinde, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray, senior Maharashtra ministers and a few other chief ministers and governors.