This refers to the report “Nitish, Farooq favour Bharat Ratna for Vajpayee” (Nov.19). Now, by bringing in the name of the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the BJP appears to be looking for electoral gains. The party should remember that Mr. Vajpayee himself has kept away from politics. He is of course a great statesman, with laudable achievements in diplomacy. But India’s highest civilian award must be kept free of controversy.
Mr. Vajpayee is an exemplary leader, able administrator and key person who ensured the overall development of our nation. He deserves the highest honour.
While Mr. Vajpayee does deserve the award, remember that it was P.V. Narasimha Rao who initiated major economic reforms after he assumed office as Prime Minister in 1991 under challenging domestic and international circumstances. It was because of his bold economic initiatives then that the country has moved forward in the last two decades. Therefore, it would be appropriate to award him the Bharat Ratna.
Controversy doesn’t seem to be far behind. Some leaders are now demanding that the government confer the award on Mr. Vajpayee. But there are statesmen who tower above the rest — C. Rajagopalachari, C.N. Annadurai, Lal Bahadur Shastri, K. Kamaraj, E.M.S. Namboodiripad … The nation’s highest civilian award must not be reduced to a political tool in a high-decibel election campaign. It is high time our politicians cease to stoop further.
It is not only shocking but painful to note that the Home Ministry opposed the move to give Sachin Tendulkar the Bharat Ratna (Nov. 19). The conferment of the award on him is a great honour. The award should be given to meritorious persons, irrespective of his or her field of specialisation.