The body of Union Minister Gopinath Munde was flown to Latur from Mumbai on Wednesday morning en route to his native place in Beed district of Marathwada for cremation later on in the day.
The body was kept at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) office in Mumbai overnight after being flown from Delhi on Tuesday evening. The Indian Air Force aircraft carrying Munde's body landed at Latur sirport at around 10 am.
Senior BJP leaders including Prakash Javadekar and Rajiv Pratap Rudy were present at the Latur airport to receive the body, which will be later flown to Munde's native place Parli, 70 kms from Latur
Thousands of Munde's supporters gathered outside the Latur airport to have a last glimpse of their leader. In deference to the people's wishes, the casket containing Munde's body was kept on a raised platform outside the airport so that people could pay their last respects.
Munde's wife Pradnya and daughter Pankaja were at the airport and were consoled by his followers.
Munde's nephew, Rahul Mahajan, has also reached Beed for the funeral, which will be conducted with full state honours. Leaders of other parties, including Congress' Minister of State Amit Deshmukh and NCP's Cabinet minister Jitendra Awhad, were also present at Latur airport.
The body will be kept for "antim darshan" (last respects) at the Vaidyanath sugar factory premises near Parli and the funeral will take place after 2 pm.
The 64-year-old BJP veteran is survived by wife and three daughters.
Munde died following a road accident in Delhi on Tuesday, a week after taking over as Union Rural Development Minister in the Narendra Modi-cabinet.