New Delhi: Former President Pranab Mukherjee, Bharatiya Jana Sangh leader Nanaji Deshmukh and singer Bhupen Hazarika were on Friday conferred the country’s highest civilian award Bharat Ratna. The award has been conferred after a gap of four years.
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and founder of Banaras Hindu University Madan Mohan Malviya were given the award by the Narendra Modi government in 2015.
The government said Deshmukh and Hazarika were conferred the award posthumously. Mr Mukherjee, fondly known as ‘Pranab Da’, was the president between 2012 and 2017.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Mr Mukherjee is an outstanding statesman of present times who has served the nation selflessly and tirelessly for decades, leaving a strong imprint on the nation's growth trajectory. "His (Mukherjee) wisdom and intellect have few parallels. Delighted that he has been conferred the Bharat Ratna," he tweeted.
Referring to Deshmukh, Mr Modi said his stellar contribution towards rural development showed the way for a new paradigm of empowering those living in our villages