Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Brahmagiri, Nov 8:
A sea of humanity bade tearful farewell to senior Congress leader Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra aka Lulu as his mortal remains were consigned to fire at his ancestral village Gadarodanga here in Odisha’s Puri district this evening.
The departed leader’s brother Lalitendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra followed by his only child Upasana lit the funeral pyre at the cremation ground as per the customs.
Sources said that the last rites were performed as per Paika tradition as his great grandfather Buxi Jagabandhu spearheaded the Paika movement (armed rebellion against the British rule) in the state.
The cortege left the capital city at around 10 am this morning. Prior to the beginning of the last leg of the journey, the body was first kept at Congress Bhawan and then taken to state Assembly where a guard of honour was accorded to the leader.
The conspicuous absence of Speaker of the Assembly Niranjan Pujari, Deputy Speaker Sananda Marandi and Government Chief Whip Ananda Das has, however, drawn criticism from the Opposition.
While ‘Lulu Bhai Amar Rahe’ reverberated in the air, the flower decked vehicle moved through the clogged roads where scores of people along either side of the road paid their last respects.
The firebrand leader’s body was taken to his village via Puri covering the distance in nearly 11 hours. The procession took a turn at Mangalahat for Brahmagiri.
Hundreds of bikers escorted the mini truck decorated with flowers with several Congress leaders and family members atop the vehicle.
The grief-stricken village was anxiously waiting for the son of the soil to have a last glimpse. People from across the state had descended on the village to pay their last respects.
It may be recalled that Mohapatra’s body was flown to Bhubaneswar on Monday evening after he passed away at Medanta Medicity hospital in Gurugram on Sunday at 10.14 pm. He was undergoing treatment for liver cirrhosis.
The corpse was kept at his Bhubaneswar residence where leaders across party lines paid their last respects.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also went to Mohapatra’s Unit-VI residence to pay his floral tribute.