President confers Bharat Ratna on Vajpayee at home

Sarkaritel
By Sarkaritel March 27, 2015 19:15

President confers Bharat Ratna on Vajpayee at home


President Pranab Mukherjee during Conferment Bharat Ratna on Atal Bihari Vajpayee

President Pranab Mukherjee during Conferment Bharat Ratna on Atal Bihari Vajpayee

New Delhi, March 27  Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was on Friday conferred with the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, by President Pranab Mukherjee in a brief ceremony attended by the country’s leadership and top political personalities.

The president, in a break from protocol, arrived at Vajpayee’s residence at 6, Krishna Menon Marg to confer the top honour on the former prime minister who has been keeping poor health.

The ceremony was attended by Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as former prime minister Manmohan Singh and senior BJP leader L.K. Advani among others.

Prime Minister Modi, addressing the media outside, expressed his gratitude to President Mukherjee for coming to Vajpayee’s home to personally hand over the award to the nonagenarian leader.

He said Vajpayee’s life was “dedicated to the nation… He lived for the country…Hhis every moment was for the country. For all karyakartas (BJP workers) like me, Vajpayee-ji has been an inspiration and will remain so. His life will continue to inspire us”.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced the conferment of the award to the thronging media waiting at Vajpayee’s gate. The media was not allowed to enter inside the house or cover the actual conferment ceremony.

The Modi government recommended the Bharat Ratna to Vajpayee, 90, and to educationist Madan Mohan Malviya (posthumous) in December last year.

Jaitley, speaking to the media, said the president conferred the honour at a “brief ceremony” and that Vajpayee “lives at home due to his health”. “The ceremony was held at his home. Vajpayee is the sarvocch (top most) leader,” he said.

He said among the other guests present at the ceremony were union ministers, many chief ministers, including Jammu and Kashmir’s Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Madhya Pradesh’s Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Rajasthan’s Vasundhara Raje, Andhra Pradesh’s Chandra Babu Naidu, as well as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat and Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav. Former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was also present.

Jaitley said Vajpayee was a “powerful nationalist leader, as prime minister of the country, he held various offices, was the longest serving parliamentarian, and left his mark as an orator, political leader, thinker and poet”. He described it as an “occasion of joy”.

In a press release, Rashtrapati Bhavan said that President Mukherjee conferred the Bharat Ratna on Vajpayee. “In a special gesture, the President conferred the Award in a simple ceremony held at the residence of Vajpayee.”

Vajpayee was the first non-Congress leader to serve India for a full five-year term from 1999 to 2004. His earlier two stints at the office lasted 13 days and 13 months.

Sarkaritel
By Sarkaritel March 27, 2015 19:15