Atal Bihari Vajpayee (born 25 December 1924) is an Indian statesman who was the eleventh Prime Minister of India, first for 13 days in 1996 and then from 1998 to 2004. A leader of the centre-right Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), he is the first Prime Minister from outside the Indian National Congress party to serve a full five-year term.
Sources said that the announcement could be made post the Cabinet meeting that will take place in the morning.
Sources added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to meet Vajpayee at his residence after which he will head to his constituency Varanasi on Thursday. Vajpayee is also from Varanasi.
Bharat Ratna is India’s highest civilian honour and so far 43 individuals have received the award. He will be the first BJP leader to be given this honour.
The Modi government will observe Vajpayee’s birthday as the good governance day.
Reports suggested that Madan Mohan Malaviya will also be awarded the Bharat Ratna. His grandson Girdhar Malaviya lauded the move saying, “It is a matter of sheer happiness.”
Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya (1861–1946) was an Indian educationist and politician notable for his role in the Indian independence movement and his espousal of Hindu nationalism (being one of the initial leaders of the far-right party Hindu Mahasabha). Later in life, he was also addressed as ‘Mahamana’.
Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya was the President of the Indian National Congress on two occasions (1909 & 1918) and today is most remembered as the founder of the largest residential university in Asia and one of the largest in the world – Banaras Hindu University (BHU) at Varanasi in 1916, of which he also remained the Vice Chancellor, 1919–1938. Malviya was one of the founders of Scouting in India.
Bharatiya Janata Party veteran LK Advani has backed Vajpayee’s name for the Bharat Ratna calling him a true patriot. He said, “A Bharat Ratna for Atal Bihari Vajpayee should not be seen in terms of a reward for doing his duty but as an award that recognises his stature. It would be very appropriate and befitting for a patriot like Vajpayee.”
List of Bharat Ratna Award Recipients :