L K Advani to be awarded Bharat Ratna
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Saturday that BJP stalwart and former deputy prime minister Lal Krishna Advani will be conferred the Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award, and described it as a “very emotional moment for me”.
“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.
His decades-long service in public life has been marked by an unwavering commitment to transparency and integrity, setting an exemplary standard in political ethics, the prime minister said.
“Advani 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.
Soon after the prime minister’s announcement, a communication from the Rashtrapati Bhawan said President Droupadi Murmu has been pleased to award the Bharat Ratna to Advani.
After the announcement, the 96-year-old leader greeted mediapersons from a distance at his residence and his daughter Pratibha Advani told journalists that he is very happy at being given the country’s highest state honour.
He thanked PM Modi and the people of the country, she said. ‘Dada’, she said in an affectionate reference to her father, noted that he has dedicated his entire life to the country.
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.
BJP leaders expressed happiness at the honour for Advani and lauded his contribution to the country.
He has been dedicated to serving the country and its people selflessly through his life, Home Minister Amit Shah said, adding that he tirelessly works for issues related to the nation, culture and people.
Words cannot describe his contribution to the party and its ideology, Shah said.
Expressing his joy, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said Advani symbolised probity, dedication and strong resolve in politics.
In his long public life the contribution he made in different capacities to the country’s development and nation-building is unforgettable and inspiring, he said
Advani has strengthened the country and democracy with his abilities and the ABharat Ratna for him is a matter of happiness for every India, Singh said.