NEW DELHI: Prominent names in the political fraternity heaped words of praise on former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was chosen for the Bharat Ratna.
Freedom fighter and educationist the late Madan Mohan Malaviya has also been chosen for the award.
Congress in-charge of media communication Ajay Maken said, “to a certain extent, both represent the Indian thought which is secular and tolerant...We hope that this present government will walk in the path shown by these leaders.”
“Atalji’s contribution to the country will always be remembered. I congratulate him. We also wanted Bharat Ratna for Atalji. The UPA Government should have given this award to him,” Nitish Kumar, former Bihar Chief Minister, said.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said, “I would have come to congratulate Atalji anyways, but today we have come to give him double congratulations. We pray that God gives Atalji a long and healthy life.”
People’s Democratic Party patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed also hailed the former PM, saying, “Vajpayee deserved the country’s highest honour not only for his contribution in India’s political arena, but for his historic peace and reconciliation initiatives in and around Jammu and Kashmir.”
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said, “It is indeed heartening and a matter of pride for every Indian to confer the Bharat Ratna on two of its most precious gems - Mahamana & Atal ji.”
Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, also a Bharat Ratna recipient said, “I think he deserves to be honoured in every possible way because in many ways he was a very great statesman of the country, and one doesn’t have to agree with every bit of his policy to appreciate the human quality that was behind his Prime Ministerial leadership.”
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi too welcomed the decision.
“Very happy to know that the Bharat Ratna is being conferred on Vajpayee and Malviyaji. Everyone knows Malviyaji was a freedom fighter and an educationist. When Vajpayee was the Prime Minister, even if he was in a different party he helped me. I am also personally grateful to him.”
“The Bharat Ratna honour to these greats is a (matter of) pride for the country,” Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said.