The mortal remains of Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave were consigned to flames on the banks of the river Narmada at Bandrabhan in Madhya Pradesh's Hoshangabad district today, with full state honours.
Dave, who died in New Delhi yesterday at the age of 60, had expressed the desire to be cremated on the banks of the Narmada, a river that was close to his heart and ran through his home state of Madhya Pradesh.
The funeral pyre was lit by his brother and nephew amid a tearful adieu by those present on the occasion at Bandrabhan, where Dave used to organise international river festivals to create awareness among people on the issue of conserving rivers, BJP spokesman Rajnish Agrawal told PTI.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Union ministers Harsh Vardhan, Uma Bharti, Anant Kumar, Narendra Singh Tomar and Thawar Chand Gehlot, senior RSS leaders Bhaiyyaji Joshi, Dattatraya Hosbole and Suresh Soni, BJP general secretary Kailash Vijaywargiya among others were present on the occasion.
The mortal remains of Dave were brought early this morning to Bandrabhan from his home, 'Nadi Ka Ghar', in the state capital.
Chouhan and other BJP leaders were the pall bearers of the departed leader.
A guard of honour was also given as a mark of respect him.
The Madhya Pradesh government yesterday declared a wo-day state mourning following Dave's death. Leaders cutting across party lines expressed profound grief over his demise.
A pall of gloom yesterday descended on 'Nadi Ka Ghar' with Dave's supporters flocking to the three-storey building set up by him which was also used to run Narmada Samagra, an NGO for conserving the river regarded as the lifeline of MP.
Born on July 6, 1956 at Barnagar in Madhya Pradesh's Ujjain district, Dave, a bachelor, used to live in this house whenever he was in Bhopal.
The house was his nerve centre for running the river conservation campaign as well as to formulate strategies for contesting elections.
Dave, in his will dated July 23, 2012, said, "If you want to cherish my memories, plant trees and save them. This would give me pleasure,"
He also mentioned in his will that he did not want any statue, memorial or award instituted in his name.
Image: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan pays his last respects at the cremation of Anil Dave at Bandrabhan Ghat in Hoshangabad by the banks of the Narmada. Picture courtesy: ANI