‘Doyen of Indian politics’: Murmu confers Bharat Ratna on Advani | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘Doyen of Indian politics’: Murmu confers Bharat Ratna on Advani

By, New Delhi
Apr 01, 2024 05:08 AM IST

President Droupadi Murmu on Sunday conferred Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian honour, on Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) patriarch and former deputy prime minister LK Advani at his residence

President Droupadi Murmu on Sunday conferred Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian honour, on Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) patriarch and former deputy prime minister LK Advani at his residence.

President Droupadi Murmu confers Bharat Ratna upon veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at the latter's residence in New Delhi on Sunday. (ANI)
President Droupadi Murmu confers Bharat Ratna upon veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at the latter's residence in New Delhi on Sunday. (ANI)

Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were among the dignitaries to attend the ceremony held at Advani’s residence in national capital owing to his health concerns and advanced age.

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Taking to social media, Murmu described Advani as a “doyen of Indian politics” and said he has served the nation with “unwavering dedication and distinction for over seven decades.”

“Born in Karachi in 1927, he migrated to India in 1947 against the backdrop of partition. With his vision of cultural nationalism, he toiled hard for decades, across the length and breadth of the country, and brought about a transformation in the socio-political landscape,” she said in a post on X. “When the Emergency put India’s democracy at risk, the indefatigable crusader in him helped guard it against authoritarian tendencies.”

As a parliamentarian, Advani’s emphasis on dialogue enriched parliamentary traditions, Murmu said.

“Whether as home minister or as deputy prime minister, he always prioritised national interest above all, earning him respect and admiration from across party lines,” the president said. “His long and tireless struggle for India’s cultural regeneration culminated in the reconstruction of Shri Ram Temple in Ayodhya in 2024…”

Modi said it was very special to witness the conferring of the Bharat Ratna on Advani and this honour is a recognition of his enduring contributions to the nation’s progress.

“His dedication to public service and his pivotal role in shaping modern India have left an indelible mark on our history. I am proud to have got the opportunity to work with him very closely over the last several decades,” Modi said in a post on X.

The award ceremony is held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, but an exception was made for Advani (96), who due to his ill health and advanced age was unable to attend the event on Saturday, when the highest civilian honour was conferred on former prime ministers PV Narasimha Rao and Chaudhary Charan Singh, agriculture scientist MS Swaminathan and two-time former Bihar chief minister Karpoori Thakur, posthumously. A similar exception was also made in 2015, when then President Pranab Mukherjee conferred Bharat Ratna on former PM and BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee at his residence.

Advani had served as the deputy PM from June 2002 to May 2004 and Union home minister from October 1999 to May 2004 in the Vajpayee-led cabinet.

Advani was one of the founding members of the BJP and a three-time party president. In 2005, he had to step down from the party chief’s post following an uproar over his praise of Pakistan’s founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah during his visit to Lahore. Though he remained committed to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) ideology, his statement led to a temporary schism between him and the ideological fount of the party.

Bharat Ratna for Advani was announced by Modi in February for his “monumental” contribution to India’s development.

Having made his parliamentary debut in 1970 as a member of the Rajya Sabha, Advani contested his first Lok Sabha election in 1991 and the last one in 2014 from Gandhinagar in Gujarat.

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