Chants of "Netaji amar rahein" reverberated across Saifai as people from across length and breadth of Uttar Pradesh thronged socialist leader Mulayam Singh Yadav's native village for his last darshan Monday.
Yadav passed away Monday morning at a private hospital in Gurugram and his mortal remains reached here in the evening.
The body of the Samajwadi Party patriarch has been kept at his kothi and the cremation will take place on Tuesday afternoon.
While grief-struck commoners and party supporters stood in queues, it wasn't easier for "VIPs" as well with multiple current and former UP legislative assembly members trying hard to gain entry into the kothi.
"Sir, there are instructions to us that no VIP treatment is meted out to anyone," a private security official told an MLC and a former MLC, denying them a backdoor entry.
Besides a large number of people who waited for the mortal remains at the venue, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, former MP Dharmendra Yadav and other family members were present when the body was taken out from an ambulance.
Mulayam's brother Shivpal Yadav was seen comforting Akhilesh Yadav, placing his hand on his shoulder as the latter broke down.
Soon after the body was laid for the last "darshans", Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Jal Shakti Minister Swatantra Dev Singh and BJP state president Bhupendra Singh Chaudhary arrived and paid their tributes.
They also extended their condolences to Akhilesh Yadav. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Chhatisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel and Bihar CM Nitesh Kumar are likely to arrive here.
People from distant places in UP reached Saifai to pay their last respects.
"He was like God to us," Jaikesh Yadav, who arrived here with scores of people from Etah district, some 150 km away, told PTI as he struggled to gain entry for the darshan.
Indrajit Singh Yadav said he left home in Jaunpur while Rahul Singh Yadav came from Prayagraj after the news of Yadav's demise broke out.
A private security official manning the queues estimated that well around 10,000 people had paid last respects till 9.30 pm.
Among those struggling to gain entry was a 72-year-old man, hailing from a nearby village.
"I had a surgery on my leg several years ago and it's permanently disabled," the elderly man told PTI and recalled Yadav as a "great leader".
Traders in the district have decided to keep the markets closed on October 11 as a mark of respect to their leader.
Yadav, a former defence minister who had also served as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh three times, passed away at 82 on Monday.
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