3 more Bharat Ratnas: PM Modi suprises all

PM Modi

Rama Krishna Sangem

Bharat Ratnas, highest civilian awards of our country, have been raining this year. On February 9, Friday, the Centre has announced three more awardees for the honour –  Former Prime Ministers Chaudhary Charan Singh, PV Narasimha Rao and eminent agriculture scientist Dr MS Swaminathan.  Already two personalities –  Karpoori Thakur, former Bihar CM. socialist leader and LK Advani, former Deputy PM were conferred this award recently.

So, a total 5 personalities have been conferred Bharat Ratna awards this year – 2024. Prime Minister Narendra Modi revealed the news of this on X and paid glowing tributes to them all. Needless to say, all these five person were the personal choice of PM Modi. There were several years, when no one was picked for Bharat Ratna, even during the last 10 years of Modi government.

But, suddenly there is a shower of Bharat Ratnas this year. Normally, this award is given to an eminent personality during the time of Republic Day – January 26. Or any other time, if the Centre wishes to present it. Every country in the world has their own highest civilian awards to honour their choicest persons. India started Bharat Ratna in 1954. So far,  as many as 54 persons have been conferred Bharat Ratna award.

There is no restriction on selection of a person for this award. Anyone, irrespective of caste, creed, race or even nationality from any field can be chosen and conferred this award. For example, foreign born Mother Teresa, Khan Abdul Gafar Khan (born in  Pakistan) and Nelson Mandela (from South Africa) were presented this Bharat Ratna.  There are some years, when three persons were given Bharat Ratna. But, this is the first time, when 5 were chosen for this honour.

It is the usual standard that the government of the day at the Centre chooses its own candidates for Bharat Ratna. So, this honour is a political decision at the highest level. For example, three former PMs – Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were conferred this honour. Former PM Morarji Desai too was conferred Bharat Ratna. Of course, most awards were announced posthumously.


Why Modi selected these 5 this year?

Definitely, PM Modi took everyone by surprise on an early February afternoon by adding three more names to the two already announced for Bharat Ratna this year. There are demands for this honour from hundreds of persons, parties and organisations in the country. For example, TDP has been asking for this honour to late CM NT Rama Rao. So are many demands from different quarters of the country.

But, Modi selected these five this year. Karpoori Thakuar has been selected for Bharat Ratna on his birth centenary which is a fit case to get the award. The immediate spin off of this award is JD(U) leader and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar switched sides from India bloc to NDA led by Modi. After that, Advani was selected, in tune with the demands of pro-Hindu groups who wanted recognition for him for his Ratha Yatra in early 1990s for Ram temple at Ayodya.

Now, same yardstick was followed for late PM PV who too won the hearts of BJP and Sangh Parivar, for keeping silent on the day when Babri Mosque was demolished on December 6, 1991. The demolition of the structure ultimately paved way for construction of a grand Ram Mandir at Ayodhya. So, two persons linked to Ayodhya Ram temple were conferred Bharat Ratna.

Modi is set to win a third term as PM and BJP is expected to do well (304 Lok Sabha seats may go to the party, as per India Today’s Mood of Nation survey announced on February 8). So, this is a thanks giving award to both Advani and PV Narasimha Rao. Moreover, Bharat Ratna for PV who is from Telangana will have some political impact in the state in the coming LS elections. BJP is trying to dig big in Telangana.


KCR hails Bharat Ratna for PV

Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) president and former CM KCR too welcomed the conferment of Bharat Ratna on late PM PV Narasimha Rao. The party, in a post on X said: “Thanks to Honourable PM @narendramodiji, for conferring the nation’s highest award, Bharat Ratna, on former PM PV Narasimha Rao garu. The people of Telangana rejoice in the decision of PM Narendra Modi Ji:.

Charan Singh, a short lived Congress backed PM in 1980, too wields great influence in Western UP and Haryana where Jat farmers are populated. Chaudhary Charan Singh is also revered as the leader of Kisans  in the country. Keeping in view the now reviving farmers protests near Delhi for the last few days, Bharat Ratna for Chaudhary Charan Singh will have some  impact – for BJP, weeks ahead of LS elections.

Charan Singh’s grandson Jayant Singh (son of late Ajit Singh), leader of Rashtriya Lok Dal, hailed the Centre’s decision to confer Bharat Ratna on Charan Singh. This move will soften RLD’s stand on farmers protest against the BJP led government. So will be its impact on Punjab farmers too. Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav too hailed it, though some of his party colleagues termed it as election stunt.

The choice of Dr MS Swaminathan, hailed as Father of Green Revolution in India too is viewed as an attempt to please farmers lobbies. Sources say, this will satisfy people of Tamil Nadu and some southern states where Dr Swaminathan had some direct relations. So, this year’s Bharat Ratnas covered all parts of the country – East, West, South and North.

By springing a surprise of five Bharat Ratnas in a a single year, PM Modi also set a record for himself. We will have to see if this record helps him win a third term as PM in April/May elections.

Rama Krishna Sangem

Ramakrishna chief editor of excel India online magazine and website

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Rama Krishna Sangem

Excel India national news magazine is a media startup founded and piloted by Rama Krishna Sangem, a Hyderabad based senior journalist with over three decade experience in the field of media, mostly in print journalism. His rich experience in reporting for both Telugu and English newspapers and heading a TV news channel and some online outfits will be of immense use to this venture. Excel India English news magazine seeks to fill the gap of analytical understanding to our readers who today are confronted with myriad media platforms. Our online version not only offers regular updates and commentary on happenings around us, but also gives larger stories not limited by space constraints of a print magazine. Excel India is ably run by a team of senior journalists committed to values and quality standards in the profession. We urge you all to support and guide us in this endeavour. Reach us at excelindiaweb123@gmail.com