Former President Pranab Mukherjee was awarded Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award on Thursday
President Ram Nath Kovind conferred the Bharat Ratna on former President Pranab Mukherjee, late Bharatiya Jana Sangh leader Nanaji Deshmukh, and late Assamese singer Bhupen Hazarika. Hazarika’s son Tez received the award on behalf of his father and Vikramjeet Singh, the chairman of Deendayal Research Institute, received the award on Deshmukh’s behalf.
Vice-President M Venkaikah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and several other Union Ministers attended the event at Durbar Hall in Rashtrapati Bhawan. Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, former vice-president Hamid Ansari, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi were also present. However, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi were not seen at the event.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the move and said, “It was an honour to witness you receiving the Bharat Ratna, a fitting recognition of everything that you have done for the nation… Thank you for leaving no stone unturned towards making India more developed.”
Praising Pranab Mukherjee, Union Home Minister Amit Shah averred, “Congratulations to former President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee ji on being conferred with Bharat Ratna. He is a leader par excellence who has served the nation with utmost dedication and commitment.” The Bharat Ratna has been given after a gap of four years. In 2015, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Madan Mohan Malviya, the founder of Banaras Hindu University, were given the prestigious award. With this honour, Mukherjee has joined the list of former presidents, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Rajendra Prasad, Zakir Hussain and VV Giri, who have received the award. Mukherjee was the president of India between 2012 and 2017.