New Delhi, Feb 3: Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Saturday that BJP stalwart and former deputy prime minister L K Advani will be conferred the Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award.
“One of the most respected statesmen of our times, his contribution to the development of India is monumental. His is a life that started from working at the grassroots to serving the nation as our Deputy Prime Minister,” Modi said on X.
The prime minister said the conferring of the Bharat Ratna on Advani is a very “emotional moment for me”.
“Advani Ji’s decades-long service in public life has been marked by an unwavering commitment to transparency and integrity, setting an exemplary standard in political ethics. He has made unparalleled efforts towards furthering national unity and cultural resurgence,” he said.
“The conferring of the Bharat Ratna on him is a very emotional moment for me. I will always consider it my privilege that I got countless opportunities to interact with him and learn from him,” he said.
Modi spoke to the BJP’s longest serving president, who is credited with crafting the party’s rise through the 90s when it came to power for the first time with Atal Bihari Vajpayee heading coalition governments, and congratulated him.
Advani’s parliamentary interventions have always been exemplary and full of rich insights, Modi said.
Last month, the government had named the late Karpoori Thakur, a socialist stalwart and former Bihar chief minister, for the highest honour.
If the recognition for Thakur years after he passed away in 1988 was seen by many political experts as part of the BJP’s push to deepen its roots among the economically backward classes (EBC), a category from which he came from, the honour for Advani is being seen as an ode to his instrumental role in shaping the party’s core ideology which has come to dominate the country’s polity under Modi.
The Bharat Ratna will be bestowed on Advani in a year of the Ram temple’s consecration, which marks a triumphant closure for the BJP of an issue which was thrust into popular consciousness by the veteran leader through his ‘Ram Rath Yatra’ in 1990.
The yatra and the mass appeal it drew boosted the party’s vote share and made it the key challenger to the Congress, then the biggest national party. (Agencies)
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