The funeral of Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave was held on the banks of the river Narmada at Bandrabhan in Madhya Pradesh’s Hoshangabad district on Friday, with full State honors.
Dave, who died in New Delhi on Thursday at the age of 60, following a cardiac arrest 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. Bandrabhan is the place where the late Environment minister used to organize the International River Festivals every two years, to create awareness among people on the issue of conserving rivers, BJP spokesman Rajnish Agrawal said.
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.
The mortal remains of Dave were brought early this morning to Bandrabhan from his home, ‘Nadi Ka Ghar’, in the State capital. Chouhan and other BJP leaders lent their shoulders to the departed leader. A guard of honor was also given as a mark of respect him. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and other party leaders were present at the city airport to receive his body draped in a tricolor.
The Madhya Pradesh government on Thursday declared a two-day State mourning following Dave’s death.
Born on July 6, 1956 at Barnagar in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain district, Dave, a bachelor, used to live in this house whenever he was in Bhopal. The house was his main centre for running the river conservation campaign as well as to formulate strategies for contesting elections.
Dave, in his will dated July 23, 2012, said, “If you want to cherish my memories, plant trees and save them. This would give me pleasure.” He also mentioned in his will that he did not want any statue, memorial or award instituted in his name.
Anil Dave held several posts. An MP representing Madhya Pradesh, Dave took charge as Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change (Independent Charge), on July 6, 2016, following a reshuffle in the Narendra Modi Cabinet.