A prayer meeting was held here on Wednesday in the historic Ridge to pay tribute to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who died in New Delhi on 16 August.
Urns with Vajpayee's ashes were brought here from the national capital and were received by Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and his cabinet colleagues.
Thousands of people had gathered for prayer.
Governor Acharya Devvrat, the Health Minister of the Union, J.P. Nadda, former head ministers Shanta Kumar, Virbhadra Singh and Prem Kumar Dhumal, Vidhan Sabha Speaker Rajiv Bindal were among those present.
Paying tribute to the governor said that Vajpayee was a universally beloved politician and a great personality who had emerged as a statesman in the course of decades.
Prime Minister Thakur called Vajpayee a visionary leader who was above party politics. His downfall was indeed a great loss to the nation in general and Himachal Pradesh in particular.
He said that Vajpayee has a special place in his heart for the people of the state and that the state would always miss his love and benevolence.
Vajpayee always regarded this state as his second home and has a house in Prini in the Kullu district. When he got time from his busy schedule, he visited Manali and wrote some unforgettable poems there, said the head minister.
The idea to build the Rohtang tunnel that connects the enclosed Lahaul valley with the rest of the world was conceived by Vajpayee in 1998 and the project was announced by him on June 3, 2000, he added.
Thakur said that this project was almost complete and Vajpayee's greatest gift would be to the state.
Recalling the contributions of Vajpayee, said Nadda, the Minister of Health, he said that he has made India a nuclear power despite pressure from the international community.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader and two-time prime minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said that Vajpayee, as prime minister, always pays attention to the development needs of the state.
Congress leader and six-time Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said Vajpayee was always willing to help the needy, without discrimination.
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