Kalyan Singh cremated, top leaders attend funeral

A Hindutva icon and an OBC Lodh caste leader, Singh was the Uttar Pradesh chief minister when "Kar Sevaks" demolished the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.

Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh was cremated with full state honours on Monday at Bansi Ghat in Bulandshahr’s Narora town, where senior BJP leaders and a large number of people congregated for the last rites.

Etah Lok Sabha MP Rajveer Singh lit his father’s pyre at the funeral attended by senior BJP leaders, including Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani and Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami.

Rajveer Singh was assisted by his son Sandeep Singh, a minister in the UP government.

The two-time CM, who had also been the Rajasthan Governor, died at a Lucknow hospital on Saturday after prolonged illness.

A Hindutva icon and an OBC Lodh caste leader, Singh was the Uttar Pradesh chief minister when “Kar Sevaks” demolished the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.

The others present at the cremation ground were UP Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya, BJP leader Uma Bharti, besides a number of state ministers, BJP workers and local people.

Singh was cremated with full state honours after his mortal remains were brought here from Ahilya Bai Holkar stadium in Aligarh, where they were kept for the people to pay their last respect.

From Aligarh, the late BJP leader’s body was first taken to Atrauli, near his native village Madholi, and was kept there for ‘darshan’, before being taken to Narora.

In Atrauli, Singh’s mortal remains were kept in the PWD Guest House, where various dignitaries, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Madhya Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, UP CM Yogi Adityanath and BJP state president Swatantra Dev Singh paid their tributes.

Kalyan Singh was instrumental in the rise of the BJP to power in Uttar Pradesh in the 1990s.

He is survived by his wife Ramvati Devi, son Rajveer Singh and grandson Sandeep Singh, who is the minister of state for finance, technical education and medical education in Uttar Pradesh.

Earlier in the day, Union Home Minister Amit Shah paid tributes to Kalyan Singh in Aligarh, calling his death a “big loss” for the party.

“With the death of Kalyan Singhji, the BJP has lost a stalwart. It is a big loss for the party. The void created by Kalyan Singh’s death is difficult to fill for a long time,” Shah told reporters.

“With his death, deprived, downtrodden and backwards have lost their well-wisher. He was a big leader of the ‘Ram Janmabhoomi andolan’. For this, he did not hesitate in leaving the government. I spoke to him when the ‘shilanyas’ was done and ‘Babuji’ said his life’s target was achieved with it,” Shah said.

Shah further said the former UP CM worked for the development of the state and devoted his life for the poor and wanted Uttar Pradesh to become the best state in the country.

“His life will encourage party workers as to how he reached the top position despite coming from a poor family,” the Union minister said.

Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh government on Monday announced that a road in six districts, including Lucknow and Ayodhya, will be named after Kalyan Singh.

The Public Works Department (PWD) will prepare a proposal for this, it said.

“One PWD main road each in Ayodhya, Lucknow, Aligarh, Etah, Bulandshahr and Prayagraj will be named after Kalyan Singh,” Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said in Lucknow.

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