Vilasrao's Body Reaches Latur, PM to Attend Funeral

Vilasrao's Body Reaches Latur, PM to Attend Funeral
Thousands of people lined up on the road to pay their last respects to Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh whose body arrived here this morning.

The body of Deshmukh, who passed away at the Global Hospital in Chennai yesterday, was flown in an Air Force plane to Latur early today.

On way to his native village Babhalgaon, the procession of the vehicle carrying Deshmukh's body was impeded by thousands of mourners who blocked traffic on the main road in a bid to have a last glimpse of the leader.

Shops and commercial establishments in Latur have downed shutters since yesterday soon after the news of Deshmukh's passing away reached them.

Police sources said seven lakh people are expected to attend Deshmukh's last rites.

The body will be kept at a special stage erected in Dayanand Vidyalaya premises at the village to enable people to pay tributes from 10 am to 2 pm, sources said.

Bewteen 2 and 3 pm, the body will be taken to Deshmukh's Gadhi, his ancestral home, for religious rites.

Deshmukh's mortal remains would be consigned to flames at around 4 pm at his farm at Babhalgaon, close to the place where his father Dagdojirao was cremated.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi will arrive in Latur around noon to pay their last respects to the senior Congress leader.

Those expected to attend the last rites include Union Ministers Sharad Pawar and Sushilkumar Shinde, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, BJP president Nitin Gadkari, MNS chief Raj Thackeray, senior Maharashtra ministers and a few other chief ministers and governors.

Union Minister Praful Patel, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, MNS president Raj Thackeray and his legislators, filmmakers Karan Johar and Sajid Khan, Congress leaders Kripashankar Singh, Mohammed Arif Naseem Khan were prominent among those who paid their last respects.

Filmmaker Vashu Bhagnani, whose daughter is Deshmukh's youngest daughter-in-law, was also present with his family.

The entire Deshmukh clan - late Vilasrao's wife Vaishali, his sons Amit, Riteish and Dheeraj and their wives accepted condolences from VIPs and ordinary villagers.

Amit, Deshmukh's eldest son, was composed while his younger siblings and their mother could not control their tears.

Vilasrao's younger brother Dilip, his wife and daughter were also present.

Police had to resort to a minor lathicharge to control the mourners.
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