President confers Bharat Ratna on LK Advani, lauds his role in Ram Mandir movement

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President confers Bharat Ratna on LK Advani, lauds his role in Ram Mandir movement
New Delhi: President Droupadi Murmu on Sunday presented India’s highest civilian honour Bharat Ratna to LK Advani, 97, at his residence. This honour is a recognition of his enduring contributions to our nation’s progress. His dedication to public service and his pivotal role in shaping modern India have left an indelible mark on our history. I am proud to have got the opportunity to work with him very closely over the last several decades.

The Congress on Sunday alleged that PM Narendra Modi had committed “gravest disrespect” to President Droupadi Murmu by not standing up while she was presenting Bharat Ratna to BJP veteran LK Advani.

The formal ceremony was attended by Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Advani’s family members.

Presenting the award to Advani, the President said, “LK Advani, a doyen of the Indian politics, has served the nation with unwavering dedication and distinction for over seven decades.” Born in Karachi on November 8, 1927, Advani migrated to India in 1947 against the backdrop of Partition.

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“With his vision of cultural nationalism, he toiled hard for decades, across the length and breadth of the country, and brought about a transformation in the socio-political landscape. When the Emergency put India’s democracy at risk, the indefatigable crusader in him helped guard it against authoritarian tendencies,” the President said. She said as a parliamentarian, Advani’s emphasis on dialogue enriched parliamentary traditions.

“Whether as Home Minister or as Deputy Prime Minister, he always prioritised national interest above all, earning him respect and admiration from across party lines. His long and tireless struggle for India’s cultural regeneration culminated in the reconstruction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya in 2024,” the President said.

She said among the handful of post-Independence political leaders who succeeded in reshaping the national agenda and placing it on the path of development, his accomplishments provide the best articulation of the genius of India and its inclusive traditions.

The citation presented to LK Advani records his political journey from a founding member of the BJP to India’s Deputy PM. Advani steered the BJP as its president for five terms, the longest time period in the party’s history. Starting his parliamentary career in 1970, he was a member of the Rajya Sabha four times and of the Lok Sabha seven times. He led the BJP from the margins to the centrestage of the national politics.

“With the formation of two consecutive BJP-led NDA governments at the Centre in 1998 and 1999, he succeeded in transforming India’s polity from being unipolar to bipolar,” the citation says.

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