Rahul, Nadda pay tributes to ex-CM Virbhadra Singh in Shimla

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Shimla, Jul 9 (PTI) Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and BJP president J P Nadda joined a large number of supporters on Friday to pay last respects to former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh who passed away on Thursday.

Gandhi, accompanied by Congress Working Committee member Rajeev Shukla, laid a wreath at the mortal remains of Singh to pay his last respects to the departed leader at the state Congress office -- Rajiv Bhawan.

Gandhi later hugged the late Congress leader's son Vikramaditya Singh, the Shimla Rural MLA, to express his condolences.

Earlier, Nadda accompanied by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur laid a wreath on Singh's mortal remains at the Ridge Maidan.

The BJP president reached Shimla in a helicopter from Delhi to pay his last respects to the departed leader. Earlier on July 5, Nadda had enquired about Singh's health during his visit to the hill state.

The 87-year-old veteran Congress leader breathed his last after prolonged illness at Shimla's Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) at 3.40 am on Thursday.

Singh had served as the state's chief minister for six times with the latest stint from 2012 to 2017. In the 2017 Assembly polls, Singh was elected from Arki constituency in Solan district.

On Thursday, Singh's body was kept at his residence, Holly Lodge, here for the entire day for 'antim darshan'.

On Friday, the body was kept at Ridge Maidan for the public to pay their last respects from 9 am to 11.30 am.

Then, it was kept at the state Congress office from 11.40 am to 1 pm.

A large number of supporters of Virbhadra Singh had their 'antim darshan' of the departed leader at both the places amid chanting of slogans like 'Raja sahab, amar rahein', 'Jab tak sooraj chand rahegaa, Raja sahab ka naam rahega' and 'Raja nahi fakir tha, janta ki takdeer tha'.

Thereafter, the body was taken to Rampur at 1 pm and it is scheduled to reach Padam Palace in Rampur Bushahr in the evening.

On Saturday, the body will be kept at Padam Palace from 8 am to 2 pm before the funeral at 3 pm.

A delegation of Congress leaders will represent party president Sonia Gandhi at his cremation on Saturday. The delegation will comprise Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel and Congress treasurer Pawan Kumar Bansal. PTI DJI HDA

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