Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and a host of other dignitaries would visit Puttaparthi in Anantapur district on Tuesday to pay their last respects to Sai Baba, who would be buried in the Sai Kulwanth Hall with full state honours between 9 and 9.30 am on Wednesday.
A sea of humanity from commoners to political leaders, cricket legends Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar and film personalities today descended on this little town in Andhra Pradesh to pay homage to spiritual Guru Satya Sai Baba, who died in Puttaparthi on Sunday.
AP Governor E S L Narasimhan and Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy would visit Puttaparthi again tomorrow.
BJP leader L K Advani and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi are also expected tomorrow.85-year-old Sai Baba died yesterday morning at 7:40 after fighting illness caused by multi-organ failure for over a month.
“Jai Sai Ram” rent the air and volunteers sang Sai Bhajans as cricket legends Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar came with their wives Anjali and Marshneil and children to have a last look at the moral remains of the Baba, who millions of his followers across the globe considered him a “living God”.
Both the cricketing heroes, ardent followers of the guru, were overwhelmed emotionally when they took their seat on the floor in front of the glass case in which the Baba’s body was kept.
Gavaskar said Sai Baba will continue to live in the hearts of the followers and guide and inspire them.
Cricketers V V S Laxman and Sreesanth also paid their repects to Sai Baba.
The state government has already declared a four-day state mourning for Sai Baba who transformed this tiny hamlet into a self-contained town with excellent educational, medical and other institutions and funded development and philanthropic work in other states as well.
Union Ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh and Praful Patel, yoga guru Baba Ramdev, veteran South Indian playback singer P Suseela and actress Anjali Devi were among the prominent persons who paid homage to the Baba’s body that was lying in state in the Sai Kulwanth Hall at Prasanthi Nilayam since last evening.