• Saturday, April 20, 2024

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PM Modi pays rich tributes as India president confers Bharat Ratna awards

The Narendra Modi government decided to give the prestigious awards this year to former prime ministers Chaudhary Charan Singh and PV Narasimha Rao, agronomist MS Swaminathan, former chief minister of Bihar Karpoori Thakur and veteran BJP stalwart Lal Krishna Advani.

Kin of four Indians from various fields receive the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, from the Indian president, Droupadi Murmu at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Saturday, March 30, 2024. The awardees include former prime ministers Chaudhary Charan Singh and PV Narasimha Rao, agronomist MS Swaminathan and former chief minister of the eastern state of Bihar and social justice icon, Karpoori Thakur (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan)

By: Shubham Ghosh

INDIAN prime minister Narendra Modi on Saturday (30) praised the contributions made by those leaders who were conferred Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award, by president Droupadi Murmu at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, her official residence in New Delhi.

The Indian government chose a number of luminaries, including some late prime ministers such as PV Narasimha Rao and Chaudhary Charan Singh, for the top honour this year.

Modi, who was present at the award-presentation ceremony along with a number of other top leaders, lauded Rao to say in a post on X, “Every Indian cherishes what PV Narasimha Rao Garu has done for our nation and feels proud that he has been conferred the Bharat Ratna. He worked extensively to further our country’s progress and modernization. He is also known as a respected scholar and thinker. His contributions will forever be cherished,” Modi said on X in English and Telugu, the mother tongue of Rao.

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

Rao was the prime minister between 1991 and 1996 and is widely credited for giving the leadership to liberalise India’s economy that proved to be a massive game changer for the developing nation in later years.

Indian PM Narendra Modi with the son of one of the recipients of Bharat Ratna Award Karpoori Thakur, who took the award on behalf of his late father
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi greets Ram Nath Thakur, son of late Indian leader Karpoori Thakur, as the latter arrives to receive Bharat Ratna on behalf of his father during a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi, Saturday, March 30, 2024. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan)

Modi also praised Singh, who though was the prime minister for a few months in 1979, is considered among one of the top leaders of the farming community in the country, particularly in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

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

The prime minister said Bharat Ratna for his predecessor is a recognition of his contributions to India’s development, particularly in agriculture and rural development.

“I am sure this honour will inspire future generations to uphold the values of hard work, dedication and public service that he epitomized,” he said.

Singh’s politician grandson Jayant Chaudhary took the award from the president on behalf of his grandfather.

The Modi government also decided to felicitate Karpoori Thakur, a former chief minister of the eastern state of Bihar and a stalwart in the field of social justice and equality, this year.

The country’s highest civilian award for Karpoori Thakur is a fitting tribute to a stalwart who dedicated his life to social justice and equality, Modi said in a X post in English and Hindi.

Known as a champion of the downtrodden, Thakur’s contributions to the uplift of the marginalized and his relentless fight for the rights of the backward classes have left an indelible mark on the fabric of Indian society, Modi added.

“The Bharat Ratna to him highlights the values of inclusivity and compassion that are essential to the nation’s ethos,” he said.

Referring to agronomist M S Swaminathan, another luminary who received the award posthumously, Modi described him as a revered figure in the world of agriculture who is widely admired for his pioneering work and research in the field of genetics and agricultural science.

In tweets in English and Tamil since Swaminathan, hailed as the father of India’s Green Revolution, was born in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, Modi said, “His efforts propelled India from struggle to self-sufficiency in food production. May the Bharat Ratna conferred on him inspire more people to take up research in agriculture and food security.”

While four leaders were given the Bharat Ratna posthumously this year, the BJP’s stalwart and former deputy prime minister of India, Lal Krishna Advani, is the only one living one to be conferred the award.

P V Prabhakar Rao, son of former prime minister Rao, received the award conferred on his father from the president.

Swaminathan’s daughter Nitya Rao and Thakur’s son Ram Nath Thakur received their awards from the president.

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