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Bharat Ratna for Vajpayee: Farooq, Nitish backs BJP’s demand

PTI Patna/New Delhi | Updated on November 18, 2013

Leaving aside acrimony with his former NDA ally BJP, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today backed its demand to bestow the Bharat Ratna on former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

“He deserves it. Why should not it be given to him?” Kumar, who served as railway minister in the Vajpayee cabinet, said when asked if he supported Bharat Ratna for the former prime minister.

Kumar, who is the driving force of JD(U), also made a strong case for giving the award to Rammanohar Lohia his ideological guru and Karpoori Thakur, who was chief minister of the state in 1977.

Kumar distanced himself from the statement of party leader Shivanand Tiwari questioning the award to Sachin Tendulkar.

“It is a personal opinion of Tiwari ... everybody has an opinion,” he said.

“I welcome the Bharat Ratna given to Sachin Tendulkar who served the country through his extraordinary contribution to the game,” Kumar said.

On comments of scientist CNR Rao who also received the Bharat Ratna that politicians were ‘idiots’, the Chief Minister said that he was an eminent scientist.

“We should talk about his commendable work instead of discussing his comments. I don’t know if he was trapped to make such comments,” he said.

Kumar agreed with the views of Rao that more funds should be earmarked for research work in science and technology.

Bestow Bharat Ratna on Vajpayee: Farooq

Union Minister Farooq Abdullah today backed the demand for according the Bharat Ratna to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, saying he is bigger that the award itself.

The New and Renewable Energy minister said he would make a “personal request” for bestowing the honour on Vajpayee.

“I am not a BJP man but I am an Indian and I think no one can forget that he is a fine leader,” Abdullah said on the sidelines of a blood donation camp organised by paramilitary CRPF here.

“I must tell you that the first time he talked in Lok Sabha, Jawaharlal (Nehru) jee went to him (Vajpayee) and said one day you will be the Prime Minister of this country. Nehru said this when no one could think that he would be PM one day,” he said.

Abdullah said, “I would personally request that a such a big personality (Vajpayee), who is bigger than the Bharat Ratna, should be given the due honour and it should be given now itself.”

BJP has demanded the highest civilian award be bestowed on the former Prime Minister after the government announced the honour for cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and scientist C N R Rao.

Abdullah’s National Conference (NC) was a part of BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) but it left the fold after the Gujarat riots.

Published on November 18, 2013

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