New Delhi: Speculation is rife that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led NDA government is considering to honour former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee with Bharat Ratna award. Names of other icons including Bahujan Samaj Party founder (BSP) Kanshiram are also under consideration for the highest civilian honour.
The announcement is expected to come as early as Independence Day. The BJP has been raising the demand for Bharat Ratna for Vajpayee for long. Earlier, in January 2008, senior BJP leader LK Advani had written to former PM Manmohan Singh that the honour be bestowed on Vajpayee.
In fact, during his Lok Sabha campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had highlighted how successive governments had neglected Vajpayee and Kanshiram while considering the honour. The speculation has been fuelled by the Home Ministry placing an order of five Bharat Ratna medallions a few days back. However, a senior Home Ministry official said, “ordering five medallions does not mean that five persons will be bestowed with Bharat Ratna. This is to keep adequate number of medallions in reserve,” he said.
Besides, the government’s rule for Bharat Ratna is clear that the number of annual awards is restricted to a maximum of three in a particular year.
The recommendation for Bharat Ratna is made by the Prime Minister himself to the President. No formal recommendation for this is necessary.