PRANAB Mukherjee , former President of India who is committed to Nehruvian socialist political thought, Nanaji Deshmukh, who worked tirelessly to nurture Hindu nationalist political ideology which has now bloomed into the BJP , and Dr Bhupen Hazarika called the bard of India, have been announced to be the recipient of the coveted Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, by the President Ram Nath Kovind. Nanaji Deshmukh, (1916 to 2010) ,Maharashtrian by birth, after quitting politics dedicated himself to the uplift of the poor and rural development. Dr Bhupen Hazarika, who passed away at the age of 85 in 2011 at Guwahati, was a multifaceted personality besides being singer, lyricist and film maker. Although they are from India’s different regions, they are respected across political spectrum. Pranab Mukherjee, 83, called Pranabda by his admirers, born in rural Bengal, had worked closely with Indira Gandhi during her Premiership. The Congress stalwart has made his mark as a statesman.Bharat Ratna was announced after a four-year gap. It was last conferred in 2015 when the Centre honoured former Prime Minister and BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee and founder of Banaras Hindu University Madan Mohan Malviya. Bhupen Hazarika joins the list of names from the fields of academia, science and technology, music, film, industry, social service and sports, Deshmukh and Mukherjee are politicians from divergent political ideologies. Deshmukh, former Parliamentarian, had toiled at the grassroots to lay the political foundation of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh in the 1960s and 70s .Deshmukh worked with Jayaprakash Narayan against the Indira Gandhi government and the Emergency in 1975.Mukherjee was among the top leaders of the Congress since early 80s. He won presidential elections in 2012 with the support of Congress and parties opposed to the BJP.He had to resign as Union Minister for Finance for contesting for the position. Lately, he has incurred displeasure of his erstwhile political party after accepting the invite extended by the RSS to deliver an annual lecture at its Nagpur headquarters last year. The ruling establishment has praised Mukherjee for his decision to engage with those who differed ideologically. Incidentally, Pranab Mukherjee is the fifth eminent personality from his native Bengal who has been declared Bharat Ratna recipient followed by Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy, Satyajit Ray, Pandit Ravi Shankar and Dr Amartya Sen. Dr Hazarika is the second Assamese declared Bharat Ratna after Gopinath Bardoloi, the first Chief Minister of the NE State from 1946 to 1950. Bardoloi is credited for keeping Assam united by foiling a heinous scheme to merge parts of the state with erstwhile East Pakistan. It is with a deep sense of humility and gratitude to the people of India that I accept this great honour #BharatRatna bestowed upon me. I have always said and I repeat, that I have got more from the people of our great country than I have given to them.#CitizenMukherjee.
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