Former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee‘s ashes will be immersed in rivers across the country, with top leaders participating in a ritual that has been dubbed “Atal Kalash Yatra” by the ruling BJP.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah handed over urns wrapped in red cloth with Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s ashes to state party chiefs at an event organized this morning. The former prime minister’s foster daughter Namita Kaul Bhattacharya was present on stage as the urns were handed over.
Events planned around these urns will involve more than just immersion of the ashes in prominent rivers, say party leaders.
The BJP leaders have been tasked with the job of organising yatras or processions, and condolence meets, as the urns are taken to rivers.
On Friday, the ashes will be sent to 16 prominent rivers of Uttar Pradesh and ministers and other leaders will travel with the urns. The party plans to scatter the ashes in at least 100 rivers in the country.
Three-time prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the BJP’s most revered leader and patriarch, died at 93 on August 16.
As the ruling party prepares for a series of elections the state polls later this year and the 2019 national election the “Atal Kalash Yatra” is not just a tribute to their tallest leader but is also seen as a way of invoking his legacy and his mass-connect.
Leaders suggest that these events will help re-establish the party’s ties with its traditional base of upper caste voters, especially in Uttar Pradesh, a politically vital state where Vajpayee contested and won several elections.
The party has asked all its ministers and lawmakers to participate in the Kalash Yatra events in their states.
Last week, PM Modi walked 4km in a huge crowd along with the gun-carriage taking Vajpayee’s body for cremation, in an extraordinary gesture. The Prime Minister also paid emotional homage to the former prime minister in tweets and a memorial meeting, saying he felt like he had lost a father figure.>