President Pranab Mukherjee will confer Bharat Ratna to former Prime Minister AtalBihari Vajpayee and Madan Mohan Malviya on March 27 and March 30 respectively.
While the President will go Vajpayee’s residence in Delhi to confer the award on the former prime minister, PanditMalviya’s family will receive the award on his behalf at RashtrapatiBhavan.
Prime Minister NarendraModi along with his entire cabinet is expected to be present at Vajpayee’s residence at 5 pm on March 27 to witness the BJP stalwart being bestowed with the honour.
The President had awarded Bharat Ratna to PanditMadan Mohan Malviya (posthumously) and to AtalBihari Vajpayee on December 24 last year.
One of India’s most charismatic leaders, Vajpayee is lauded as a statesman and has been often described as the moderate face of BJP.
Vajpayee, who has been ailing for sometime, has been credited for taking bold initiatives, notable being the attempt to bridge Indo-Pak differences.
India’s longest serving prime minister outside of Congress party, Vajpayee’s detractors called him “mask” of the RSS.
Several BJP leaders and MPs, including MurliManohar Joshi, have demanded that the top honour be awarded to Vajpayee. NDA partner Shiv Sena too came out in support of conferring Bharat Ratna to the first BJP Prime Minister.
An educationist with a vision, Malviya’s main achievement was the establishment of the Banaras Hindu University.
Born on December 25, 1861, Malviya was catapulted into the political arena immediately after his first moving speech at the second Congress session held in Kolkata in 1886. He was President of INC in 1909 and 1918.
Malviya is also remembered for his stellar role in the Independence movement and his espousal of Hindu nationalism.
He was one of the initial leaders of the right-wing Hindu Mahasabha.
Last year, when the UPA government had announced Bharat Ratna for former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and scientist CNR Rao, BJP had criticised Congress for ignoring Vajpayee’s contribution to the nation.