Former prime ministers P V Narasimha Rao and Charan Singh as well as Green Revolution pioneer M S Swaminathan will be conferred the Bharat Ratna, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Friday.
The government had earlier named former Bihar chief minister Karpoori Thakur, a champion of backward empowerment, and L K Advani, a founding BJP member credited with charting the course of its rise through the 1990s, for the country’s highest civilian honour.
At five, one more than the four announced in 1999, this is the maximum number of Bharat Ratnas announced for a year.
Making the announcements for Rao, whose liberalisation policies revolutionised the economy, Singh, a champion of farmer causes, and Swaminathan, a globally renowned agricultural scientist, Modi lauded their contributions to the country.
Singh, a Jat leader from western Uttar Pradesh who was prime minister in 1979-80, was one of the pioneers of anti-Congress politics at a time the party was a hegemonic political force. Congress leader Rao, a Telugu, who was prime minister for a full five-year term during 1991-96,,is widely recognised for ushering in economic reforms.
It is our government’s fortune that Singh is being honoured with the Bharat Ratna and it is dedicated to his incomparable contributions to the country, Modi said.