PONDA: The state bid adieu to former deputy speaker and former St Andre MLA Vishnu Wagh, who was cremated on Sunday in Ponda with state honours in the presence of a large number of mourners including dignitaries from across the state and other parts of the country.
Wagh was given a literary and musical tribute during the formal function; inter-religious prayers were also held.
The mortal remains of Wagh reached the Dabolim airport around 3.30 am and they were taken to Dhavali at his residence first. Later, a decorated truck carrying the casket with the mortal remains of Wagh left his residence around 8.45 am and reached the Dayanand Bandodkar Ground at Kashimath at 9 am, where the mortal remains were kept for public prayers till 3 pm in the evening.
Thousands of supporters and well-wishers paid homage to the ex-MLA. Ministers, MPs, Deputy Collector and Superintendent of Police paid homage to Wagh by placing wreaths on the casket. Friends, well-wishers and supporters recited poems written by Wagh and narrated their experiences with the departed leader, with live sitar music playing in the background. Wagh was given the ‘salami shastra’, which was followed by ‘shok shastra’ by the police.
Later, the mortal remains of Wagh were taken to the Ponda municipal crematorium ‘Muktidham’ at Warkhande for cremation in a procession with hundreds of people singing bhajans. Elder son of Wagh Priyadarshan performed the last rites in the presence of younger son Gagansurya and brother Ramarao Wagh in the crematorium. Vishnu Wagh’s former wife Sharmila Rao and son Parth too attended the funeral.
On behalf of the state, Art and Culture Minister Govind Gaude accompanied the mortal remains of Wagh from the airport in the wee hours of Sunday and escorted it till the crematorium in the evening.
The funeral was attended by various prominent citizens and political leaders including Union minister Shripad Naik, former chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar, Rajya Sabha MP and Goa BJP president Vinay Tendulkar, South Goa MP Narendra Sawaikar, state legislative Assembly Speaker Dr Pramod Sawant, Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo, Urban Development Minister Milind Naik, Power Minister Nilesh Cabral, RDA Minister Jayesh Salgaonkar, Panchayat Minister Mauvin Godinho, Town and Country Planning Minister Vijay Sardesai, Revenue Minister Rohan Khaunte, Cortalim MLA Alina Saldanha, Sanvordem MLA Deepak Pauskar, leader of the Opposition Chandrakant ‘Babu’ Kavlekar, former chief minister and MLA Digambar Kamat, MLA Ravi Naik, former MLA Naresh Sawal, formers ministers Dayanand Mandrekar, Ramesh Tawadkar and others.
Prominent writers and figures from the literary field were also present in a large number at the funeral. Most of the people gathered there said that the state has lost one of the most powerful personalities from the fields of art, literature and politics.
Meanwhile, Lobo demanded Sunday that Wagh be awarded posthumously with Padma Shri for his work in the field of literature and other art fields. “Vishnu Wagh was a great poet, writer, orator, dramatist, journalist and politician and Goa has not seen a personality like him. Considering his contribution, Wagh should be awarded with Padma Shri rightfully,” said Lobo while speaking to the media after paying homage to the departed leader. Lobo also said that Wagh was ‘used’ by some political parties for their gains and being an innocent person, he got easily persuaded and that affected his career.