Pranab Mukherjee receives Bharat Ratna; Nanaji Deshmukh, Bhupen Hazarika also conferred highest civilian award posthumously
President Ram Nath Kovind gave the award to Mukherjee, Hazarika's son Tej and Vikramjeet Singh, a close relative of Deshmukh, at a function held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
Pranab Mukherjee, late Bharatiya Jana Sangh leader Nanaji Deshmukh and late singer Bhupen Hazarika were conferred the Bharat Ratna
Ram Nath Kovind gave the award to Mukherjee, Hazarika's son Tej and Vikramjeet Singh, a close relative of Deshmukh, in Rashtrapati Bhavan
M Venkaikah Naidu, Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, and several Union Cabinet ministers were among those present at the event
New Delhi: Former president Pranab Mukherjee, late Bharatiya Jana Sangh leader Nanaji Deshmukh and late singer Bhupen Hazarika were conferred the Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian award, on Thursday.
President Ram Nath Kovind gave the award to Mukherjee, Hazarika's son Tej and Vikramjeet Singh, a close relative of Deshmukh, at an event held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
Hazarika and Deshmukh were given the Bharat Ratna posthumously.
Vice-President M Venkaikah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, several Union Cabinet ministers, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal were among those present at the event held at the imposing Durbar Hall.
The Bharat Ratna has been conferred after a gap of four years. Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and founder of Banaras Hindu University Madan Mohan Malviya were given the award by the Narendra Modi government in 2015.
Mukherjee, fondly known as 'Pranab Da', became the fifth president to receive the award. He was the president between 2012 and 2017.
Mukherjee (83), who was also known as the quintessential 'Man Friday' of the Congress, joined the elite club of former presidents Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Rajendra Prasad, Zakir Hussain and VV Giri, who were also awarded the nation's highest civilian honour.
Mukherjee became India's youngest finance minister in 1982 at the age of 47. From 2004, he went on to head three crucial ministries — external affairs, defence and finance — and became the first occupant of the Rashtrapati Bhavan to have this distinction.
In 2018, Mukherjee had drawn flak from certain quarters for attending a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) event in Nagpur.
Deshmukh was associated with the RSS from 1928 till his death in Satna, Madhya Pradesh, in 2010 at the age of 94 and was known for starting a chain of RSS-inspired schools throughout India.
He was one of the founder members of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, which later evolved as Bharatiya Janata Party.
He was considered to be one of the architects of the Jai Prakash Narayan's movement against the Emergency in 1975 and among the key persons in the formation of the Janata Party government in 1977.
Born in 1926, Hazarika was a playback singer, lyricist, musician, singer, poet and filmmaker from Assam.
He was awarded Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1987), Padma Shri (1977), Dada Saheb Phalke Award (1992), Padma Bhushan (2001) and Padma Vibhushan (2012-posthumously).
Hazarika did his PhD from Columbia University in 1952. He died in 2011.
The cultural icon also had a brush with politics and had unsuccessfully contested the Guwahati Lok Sabha seat on a BJP ticket in 2004. He was an Independent MLA in Assam during 1967-72.
Hazarika gave music in acclaimed Bollywood movies Rudaali, Darmiyaan, Gaja Gamini, Daman and many Assamese hits, including the award winning film 'Sameli Memsaab'.
The government in January announced it decision to confer the Bharat Ratna upon Mukherjee, Deshmukh and Hazarika.
With these three recipients, 48 eminent people have been conferred the Bharat Ratna so far.
Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, former vice-president Hamid Ansari, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi were present at the event. However, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi were not spotted.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
Congress' exclusion of dissenters from UP panels belies Sonia Gandhi's claims of tolerating differences of opinion
In retrospect, the resolutions taken during the CWC, and not the Congress interim chief's conciliatory words, appeared to be a sign of things to come.
Delhi riots probe: Police chargesheet has brought criminal justice system 'to ridicule', says Congress' P Chidambaram
The party's comments came after Sitaram Yechury, Yogendra Yadav, Jayati Ghosh, and DU professor Apoorvanand were named in a supplementary chargesheet in Delhi riots case
India's COVID-19 caseload has gone past 46 lakh, while 36,24,196 people have recuperated so far taking the national recovery rate to 77.77 percent