Lucknow, Sep 13 :
The mortal remains of former BJP MP and chief priest of the famous Gorakhnath temple Mahant Avaidyanath were kept in the temple premises in Gorakhpur town in eastern Uttar Pradesh Saturday for his followers and party workers to pay their last respects.
Thousands passed by his body as the rich and poor, politicians, seers, bureaucrats made a beeline to offer their tributes to the man who held centrestage in this town for more than five decades.
Avaidyanath, 92, who died in Gorakhpur Friday following prolonged illness, will be given a ceremonial ‘samadhi’ as per traditions. Before the last rites, his son and Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath will be officially annointed the next chief priest of the temple and his heir.
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani with whom Avaidyanath worked together during the Ram Janambhoomi movement and union Home Minister Rajnath Singh have reached Gorakhpur for the last rites, said an official spokesman of the temple.
Condoling his death, Governor Ram Naik recalled his association as an MP with Avaidyanath, while the ruling Samajwadi Party’s (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav recalled the seer’s rich contribution to the development of Gorakhpur. Former Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand chief minister N.D. Tiwari also mourned his death.
All shops, business establishments and schools will remain closed for two days in Gorakhpur as a mark of respect.
Avaidyanath had taken seriously ill in July after which he was taken to AIIMS in New Delhi. He was later admitted to Medanta hospital in Gurgaon where doctors gave up all hope of his survival Friday after which he was flown in an air ambulance to Gorakhpur. Soon after his arrival, he passed away.
He was a four-time legislator and four-time MP.