Freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, and senior BJP leader and former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee along with Bahujan Samaj Party founder Kanshi Ram may be conferred with the Bharat Ratna, on Sunday.
It is being said that the the announcement regarding the same may be made as early as Independence Day by the BJP-led NDA government.
The Bharatiya Janata Party have long been demanding the nation’s highest civilian honour for one of their tallest leader Vajpayee, who became the first person from the party to occupy the top post of the country. He was also the first PM of the country from a non-Congress background.
They had raised the issue when in November last year cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and eminent scientist CNR Rao were given the highest civilian award.
Senior BJP leader and former Deputy PM of India LK Advani had written to the then PM Manmohan Singh in 2008 to present the award to Vajpayee. But the UPA government never short-listed him.
Vajpayee has been keeping unwell for some years now and is not seen in public.
He lost the 2004 General Elections with the Congress-led UPA coming to power. The 1998 underground nuclear tests conducted in Pokhran desert in Rajasthan, called Pokhran-II and the 1999 Kargil war against Pakistan which India won are some of the highlights of his tenure as PM.
The saffron party has often accused the Congress for ignoring great names in the past for the award.
Modi had said last year that the Congress had bestowed the honour on Nehru-Gandhi family members (Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi) while delaying giving the award to India’s first home minister and ‘Iron Man’ Sardar Vallabhai Patel.
He had also said that BR Ambedker had got the Bharat Ratna only when a BJP backed government came to power in Delhi, years after his death.
As for Bose, in 1992, the then government had announced the award for him but it was never conferred on him. This was after a big controversy broke out with his family members and other admirers objecting to the award being given to him posthumously. A PIL was also filed in the matter which had maintained that the the award could not be given to someone whose esteem and stature was bigger than the honour.
Finally, the Supreme Court had to intervene and the press release announcing the award was cancelled. It was said that as the certificate had not been given and as there had been no gazette notification regarding the award to Netaji, the announcement was nullified.
But the SC refused to address the issue of award being posthumously.
The name of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) founder Madan Mohan Malviya is also doing the rounds. He also served as its vice chancellor. He was involved with the Hindu Mahasabha, while also being the president of the Congress.
Malviya was deeply connected with Varanasi, the constituency which Modi won from in the Parliamentary elections this year.
There has also been some speculation regarding Kanshi Ram and hockey legend Dhyan Chand.
Known as ‘The Wizard’, he is widely considered as the greatest field hockey player of all time. Dhyan Chand had three Olympic gold medals in his kitty (1928, 1932, and 1936) in field hockey.