President Ram Nath Kovind will confer Bharat Ratna to former President Pranab Mukherjee, eminent social activist Nanaji Deshmukh (posthumously) and late Assamese singer Dr. Bhupen Hazarika.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi posted three consecutive tweets to laud the contributions of the three eminent personalities. Praising Pranab Mukherjee who has served for decades as a Congressman, a senior minister in several Congress-led governments and then as the President, PM Modi wrote on Twitter, “Pranab Da is an outstanding statesman of our times. He has served the nation selflessly and tirelessly for decades, leaving a strong imprint on the nation’s growth trajectory. His wisdom and intellect have few parallels. Delighted that he has been conferred the Bharat Ratna.”
Just a little later, Mukherjee, while accepting the honor, tweeted, “It is with a deep sense of humility and gratitude to the people of India that I accept this great honor #BharatRatna bestowed upon me. I have always said and I repeat, that I have got more from the people of our great country than I have given to them.”
BJP MP Subramanian Swamy welcomed this decision and called it a well-deserved honor for all the recipients of the highest civilian honor. Swamy was apparently very close to Deshmukh.
Former President Pranab Mukherjee has been conferred with the highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna for leaving a strong imprint on the nation’s growth trajectory.
Deshmukh was honoured with Padma Vibhushan in 1999 and was the leader of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh and also a Rajya Sabha member. His towering contribution towards anti-poverty and minimum needs programme was recognized far and wide. Apart from this, his contribution was also noted in agriculture, cottage industry, uplifting rural health and education in various parts of the country. He was instrumental in founding Deendayal Research Institute (DRI) in 1972 which was based on the philosophy of “integral humanism” propagated by RSS thinker and former Bharatiya Jana Sangh leader Deendayal Upadhyaya.
Bhupen Hazarika, one of the most popular regional singers and someone who is synonymous with the Assamese identity, had earlier been awarded with Padmashri, Padmabhushan, Dada Saheb Phalke Award among others things.