The mortal remains of Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave were consigned to flames on the banks of the river Narmada at Bandrabhan in Madhya Pradesh’s Hoshangabad district on Friday, with full state honours.
Dave, who died in New Delhi on Thursday at the age of 60, had expressed the desire to be cremated on the banks of the Narmada, a river that was close to his heart and ran through his home state of Madhya Pradesh.
The funeral pyre was lit by his brother and nephew amid a tearful adieu by those present on the occasion at Bandrabhan, where Dave used to organise international river festivals to create awareness among people on the issue of conserving rivers, BJP spokesman Rajnish Agrawal told PTI.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Union ministers Harsh Vardhan, Uma Bharti, Anant Kumar, Narendra Singh Tomar and Thawar Chand Gehlot, senior RSS leaders Bhaiyyaji Joshi, Dattatraya Hosbole and Suresh Soni, BJP general secretary Kailash Vijaywargiya among others were present on the occasion.
Madhya Pradesh: Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan, Union Minister Uma Bharti pay tribute to Anil Madhav Dave at Bandrabhan Ghat in Hoshangabad pic.twitter.com/WTKyEuuoTo— ANI (@ANI_news) May 19, 2017
Dave’s body was brought to Bhopal in an Indian Air Force plane and taken to the BJP state headquarters for the people and party workers to pay their last respects to the departed leader on Thursday night.
Chouhan and several other party leaders and ministers received the body draped in a tricolour at the city airport. From there, it was taken in an open flower-bedecked truck to the state BJP headquarters.
At night, the body was kept at his residence - Nadi Ka Ghar in Shivaji Nagar area, a family member said.
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The MP government has declared a half-day holiday in Hoshangabad district to enable people to pay their last respects to the departed leader.
Born on July 6, 1956 at Barnagar in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain district, Dave, a bachelor, used to live in ‘Nadi Ka Ghar’ whenever he was in Bhopal.
The house used to be his nerve centre for running the river conservation campaign as well as to formulate strategies for contesting elections.
A master strategist, Dave was credited with bringing the BJP to power in MP in 2003 by running a successful campaign against the then Congress Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh.
Dave’s love for environment and water bodies is also reflected in his will that he left for those who wanted to cherish his memories, BJP’s spokesman Rajnish Agrawal said.
“If you want to cherish my memories, plant trees and save them. This would give me pleasure,” Dave stated in his will written on July 23, 2012.
“Maximum efforts should be made for the conservation of rivers and water bodies and by doing so, use of my name should be avoided,” he said in the will.
He had also said that there should be no memorial or statue established in his name. It mentioned that no competition or award should be instituted in his name.
The will also specified the place where he desired his last rites to be performed.
“If possible, my cremation should be performed on the banks of river Narmada at Bandrabhan, where Nadi Mahotsav was organised,” he had stated.
The leader used to organise the international river festival at Bandrabhan to create awareness among people about conserving rivers.Dave had also expressed a wish that his last rites should be performed only through ‘vaidik’ rituals without any pomp.