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

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Shimla, Jul 9 (PTI) Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and BJP president J P Nadda joined a large number people here Friday to pay their 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 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.

After prolonged illness, the 87-year-old veteran Congress leader breathed his last 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.

Thereafter, the body was taken to Rampur at 1 pm.

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.

Former Union minister and deputy leader of Congress in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma will also attend the last rites. PTI DJI SKC TIR TIR

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