As the nation is still in a celebratory mood on the consecration of the Ram temple in India, the Government on Saturday announced honouring Senior BJP Leader and the man behind the Ram Janambhoomi movement, Lal Krishna Advani, with Bharat Ratna. He will be the 50th recipient of the highest civilian award since its inception and 7th during the Modi Government regime.

“The President has been pleased to award Bharat Ratna to Shri Lal Krishna Advani,” a press communiqué from the President’s House said. Last month, the Government announced Bharat Ratna for socialist icon and former Chief Minister of Bihar, the late Karpoori Thakur.

“I am very happy to share that Shri LK Advani Ji will be conferred the Bharat Ratna. I also spoke to him and congratulated him on being conferred this honour. One of the most respected statesmen of our times, his contribution to the development of India is monumental,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote in a social media post on X.

Further, he said that his life started from working at the grassroots level to serving the nation as our Deputy Prime Minister. He distinguished himself as our Home Minister and I&B Minister as well. His Parliamentary interventions have always been exemplary, full of rich insights,” Modi said.

Later, while addressing in Odisha, he said Bharat Ratna to Advani is an honour to the ideology of ‘nation first’ and also recognition to the crores of BJP workers and leaders across the country. “This is recognition to the party’s ideologies and struggle of crores of party workers. This is also an honour to the party and its workers, which has become the world’s largest party from a two-MP party,” he said.

In a statement, Advnai. 96, said that Bharat Ratna is not only an honour for him but for the ideals and principles he strove in his life to the best of his abilities. “Ever since I joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh as its volunteer at the age of 14, I have sought reward in only thing- in dedicated and selfless service to my beloved country in whatever task life assigned to me. What has inspired my life is the motto ‘idam-na-mama” - ‘This life is not mine, my life is for my nation,’ he added.

It was Advani as BJP Chief when the party adopted the Mandir pledge in 1989, and then his ‘Rath Yatra’ in 1990 from Somnath in Gujarat to Ayodhya in UP to build the Ram temple changed the course of Indian politics. The Ram Mandir resolution reaped dividends, and the BJP’s seat tally under Advani skyrocketed from two to 86. In 1989, Rajiv Gandhi lost power, and the National Front formed the Government under Vishwanath Pratap Singh, with BJP extending support.

The Party position moved up to 121 seats in 1992 and 161 in 1996; making the 1996 elections a watershed in Indian democracy. For the first time since independence, the Congress was dethroned from its pre-eminent position, and the BJP became the single largest party in the Lok Sabha.

Born in Karachi, in present-day Pakistan, on November 8, 1927, Advani, through the years, had served as the President of the Bharatiya Janata Party for the longest period since its inception in 1980. Capping a parliamentary career of nearly three decades, he was, first, the Home Minister and, later, the Deputy Prime Minister in the cabinet of Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1999-2004).

The veteran leader’s celebration of India’s independence from the British in 1947 was sadly short-lived, as he became one of the millions to be torn from his homeland amidst the terror and bloodshed of the tragedy of India’s partition. These events, however, did not turn him bitter or cynical but instead spurred him desire to create a more secular India. With this goal in mind, he journeyed to Rajasthan to continue his work as an RSS Pracharak.