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Modi awards Bharat Ratna to two former India PMs, father of Green Revolution

The PM announced the decision to award the highest civilian award to former prime ministers PV Narasimha Rao and Chaudhary Charan Singh and MS Swaminathan, days after honouring Karpoori Thakur and Lal Krishna Advani.

(L-R) Former India prime ministers PV Narasimha Rao and Chaudhary Charan Singh and MS Swaminathan, the father of India’s Green Revolution. (ANI Photos)

By: Shubham Ghosh

DAYS after conferring Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, on former social justice icon Karpoori Thakur and former deputy prime minister Lal Krishna Advani, prime minister Narendra Modi on Friday (9) extended the list to include three more names to be recognised with the prestigious award posthumously. The decisions came months ahead of the general elections.

They are former prime ministers PV Narsimha Rao and Charan Singh and noted scientist Dr MS Swaminathan.

Rao, who was the prime minister between 1991 and 1996, is known to be the leader who heralded India’s economic liberalisation. Singh, who was the prime minister in 1979-80, was a champion of workers and farmers’ rights. Dr Swaminathan, the only non-political individual among the five recipients, is called the architect of India’s Green Revolution that had saved the nation from famine-like conditions. He passed away in September last year.

Read: Bharat Ratna, India’s highest award, for LK Advani: Modi

In a post on X, Modi said, “Delighted to share that our former Prime Minister, Shri PV Narasimha Rao Garu, will be honoured with the Bharat Ratna.”

“As a distinguished scholar and statesman, Narasimha Rao Garu served India extensively in various capacities. He is equally remembered for the work he did as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Union Minister, and as a Member of Parliament and Legislative Assembly for many years. His visionary leadership was instrumental in making India economically advanced, laying a solid foundation for the country’s prosperity and growth.”

Read: Conferring Bharat Ratna on social justice icon: Modi’s pre-poll masterstroke

“It is the good fortune of our government that former Prime Minister of the country Chaudhary Charan Singh is being honoured with Bharat Ratna. This honor is dedicated to his incomparable contribution to the country. He had dedicated his entire life to the rights and welfare of farmers,” the PM said in another post in Hindi.

“Be it the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh or the Home Minister of the country and even as an MLA, he always gave impetus to nation-building. He also stood firm against the Emergency. His dedication to our farmer brothers and sisters and his commitment to democracy during the Emergency is inspiring to the entire nation,” added.

Announcing the decision to confer Bharat Ratna on MS Swaminathan, Modi said in a third post on X, “It is a matter of immense joy that the Government of India is conferring the Bharat Ratna on Dr. MS Swaminathan Ji, in recognition of his monumental contributions to our nation in agriculture and farmers’ welfare. He played a pivotal role in helping India achieve self-reliance in agriculture during challenging times and made outstanding efforts towards modernizing Indian agriculture.

“We also recognise his invaluable work as an innovator and mentor and encouraging learning and research among several students. Dr. Swaminathan’s visionary leadership has not only transformed Indian agriculture but also ensured the nation’s food security and prosperity. He was someone I knew closely and l always valued his insights and inputs.”

On Thursday (8), Modi praised his predecessor Manmohan Singh, who was the finance minister in the Rao government that had carried out the sweeping economic reforms in the early 1990s, saying his commitment to the cause of the parliament was an inspiration for all lawmakers. He was referring to an incident last August when Singh, 91, reached the parliament in a wheelchair to take part in voting over a key legislation.

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