NEW DELHI : Amid growing demands for conferring the Bharat Ratna to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and freedom fighter Madan Mohan Malviya, the Centre is likely to make its recommendations in this regard to the President, sources said on Wednesday.
As per sources, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is most likely to recommend BJP veteran Vajpayee and freedom fighter and educationist Madan Mohan Malaviya’s name for India’s highest civilian honour to President Pranab Mukherjee.
The Centre’s announcement on Bharat Ratna awards is expected to be made on the eve of the veteran BJP leader’s birthday, which falls on December 25. The BJP government had already declared to celebrate December 25 as ‘Good Governance Day’.
If ratified by the President, AB Vajpayee will be the first leader from the country’s political right to be conferred the honour, said sources.A final decision to confer the award was reportedly taken at a meeting PM Modi held yesterday with top BJP leaders including Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari, Rajnath Singh and Amit Shah, the party president.
The BJP and Shiv Sena had been demanding the Bharat Ratna for Vajpayee for the last five years.Interestingly, former Bihar chief minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar had also supported the demand for Bharat Ratna for the saffron party’s tallest leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
“Vajpayee jee should have been bestowed with Bharat Ratna during UPA government itself. I strongly support Bharat Ratna for Vajpayee jee,” he told reporters emerging from Legislative Council where he is a member now.
Lauding Vajpayee, Kumar said he had liberal thinking and always respected coalition partners by keeping away divisive agendas of his party.
Last year, when the UPA Government had announced the Bharat Ratna for former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and scientist CNR Rao, the BJP had criticised the Congress for ignoring Vajpayee’s contribution to the nation.The BJP had also reportedly announced that it would confer the Bharat Ratna to Vajpayee if voted to power.
A Bharat Ratna for Dr Madan Mohan Malaviya, popularly known as ‘Mahamana’, was one of the promises made by the Prime Minister during the campaign for the Lok Sabha polls. The Banaras Hindu University, founded by the educationist, is in the PM’s constituency in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi.
The Bharat Ratna Award, instituted on January 2, 1954, is conferred “in recognition of exceptional service/performance of the highest order”, without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex.
Till date, 43 illustrious men and women have been honoured with the prestigious award, including leading politician C Rajagopalachari, scientist C V Raman and singer Lata Mangeshkar.