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PM, Sonia to pay last respects to Sai Baba

News18test sharma |

Updated: April 26, 2011, 7:52 AM IST
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PM, Sonia to pay last respects to Sai Baba
Other dignitaries expected to pay their last respects are Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, LK Advani.

PM Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi are expected to visit Puttaparthi on Tuesday to pay their last respects to Sathya Sai Baba.

He will leave in the morning and return the same day after paying his homage to the spiritual leader.

Other dignitaries expected to pay their last respects are Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, LK Advani and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy. Sai Baba will be buried on Wednesday in the Sai Kulwanth Hall with full state honours. Lakhs have been lining up at the Baba's ashram for a last 'darshan'. These include devotees from abroad, top politicians, bureaucrats, cricketers and film stars.

85-year-old Sai Baba died yesterday morning at 7:40 after fighting illness caused by multi-organ failure for over a month.

Expressing "deep and profound sadness" over Baba's death, the Prime Minister had on Monday said that he was a spiritual leader who inspired millions to lead a moral and meaningful life even as they followed the religion of their choice.

"Sri Sathya Saibaba as a preacher of the highest human values was an iconic figure for over five decades. He endeared himself to the people through various institutions, with
headquarters at Prashanthi Nilayam, that promoted egalitarian values, education and public health," Singh said.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made in Puttaparthi town for the visit of the Prime Minister and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi but care is being taken to ensure that no inconvenience is caused to the common people, a senior police officer said.

"Senior district police officials including SP, and DIG have discussed the arrangements with SPG officials. We have sanitised the whole route from the Puttaparthi Airport to
Prashanthi Nilayam on which their convoy will pass," Inspector General (Rayalaseem Range) Santosh Mehra told reporters in Puttaparthi.

However, there would not be any inconvenience to the public, who have been pouring in to pay their last respect to Sai Baba, he said.

As of now about 3,500 police personnel are deployed in Puttparthi town and following prime minister's visit additional forces will be called, he said.

The flight carrying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi will land at Puttaparthi airport at 1645 hrs and both of them will offer their tributes at Sai Kulwant Hall in Prashanti Nilayam where the mortal remains are kept.
"
There will be a separate route for prime minister and other VIPs visit which will not affect the common public," the senior police officer said.

Devotees continue to flock the town and there are long queues. Baba's body is likely to kept for darshan till 1800hrs on Tuesday.

"However, we are requested the trust members to extend the timings which now they have agreed to. The public can now have darshan till midnight tomorrow," the official said.

(With additional information from PTI)

First Published: April 26, 2011, 7:52 AM IST
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