New Delhi, Jan 23 (PTI) The BJP and its allies on Tuesday termed as "historic" the Narendra Modi government's decision to confer the Bharat Ratna on socialist leader and former Bihar chief minister Karpoori Thakur posthumously and said it is a true tribute to his tireless struggles.
The announcement to confer the country's highest civilian award to Thakur, popularly known as 'Jan Nayak', was made by the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
He had served as chief minister from December 1970 to June 1971 and from December 1977 to April 1979. Commenting on the development, Home Minister Amit Shah in a post on X said, "Jan Nayak Karpoori Thakur ji, the brave son of the land of Bihar, fought a long struggle to create an all-inclusive governance system. He remained dedicated to fighting for the rights of people from backward classes, Dalits, poor and farmers throughout his life." "The decision of the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to honour Karpoori Thakur ji with Bharat Ratna on his birth centenary is a true tribute to his tireless struggles," he said.
With this decision the young generation will be able to know the immense contributions of "Karpoori Babu", Shah added.
Thakur was born in 1924 in one of the most backward sections of society -- the Nai Samaj (barber community). He was a leader whose political journey was marked by his unwavering commitment to the marginalised sections of society.
Union Minister Rajnath Singh said the decision to confer Bharat Ratna on Thakur honours the idea of social harmony and welfare of the poor as well as the contributions of the former chief minister in public life.
"I deeply appreciate and express my joy on the government's decision to honour 'Jan Nayak' Karpoori Thakur ji, the former chief minister of Bihar and considered the 'janak' of social justice, with 'Bharat Ratna'," Singh said in a post on X.
The defence minister said Thakur worked for the welfare of the poor and backward classes throughout his life.
"Taking inspiration from him, as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, I had brought a law to provide reservation for the welfare of extremely backward and Dalit classes," he said, adding, "I thank President Droupadi Murmu for this decision and express my heartfelt gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji." BJP president JP Nadda welcome the decision of the government and said this honours is a tribute to Thakur's life-long struggle and dedication for the rights of the backwards, the poor, Dalits and farmers.
Former deputy chief minister of Bihar and BJP Rajya Sabha member Sushil Modi said Prime Minister Modi has done "such a historic work that no other prime minister could do".
"Karpoori ji, who fought for the extremely backward classes, has been honoured with the title of Bharat Ratna by Narendra Modi," he said.
With this decision, the Modi government has honoured members of the extremely backward communities in Bihar, who form 38 per cent of the state's population, the BJP leader added.
Sushil Modi targeted RJD chief Lalu Prasad and Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar, saying they only kept making demands for conferring Bharat Ratna on Thakur but could not do anything in this regard even when they were ministers in the central government in the past.
"Today, Narendra Modi ji has done it," he said.
"Karpoori Thakur ji kept on fighting against the Congress throughout his life. And, today Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar, who call themselves followers of Karpoori Thakur ji, are sitting in the Congress' lap," he charged.
BJP ally and Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) chief Chirag Paswan expressed gratitude to the prime minister and his government for the decision to confer Bharat Ratna on Thakur and said it has been a long standing demand of not only the people of Bihar but of the country as well.
"Our prime minister has honoured the demand today. For this I thank Prime Minister Modi and his government,” he said.
Union Minister Pashupati Kumar Paras, whose Rashtriya Lok Janshakti Party is a BJP ally, said the decision is historic and thanked the prime minister.
BJP national spokesperson and former Union minister Shahnawaz Hussain said, "It is a matter of joy for Bihar and the country that the government has decided to confer Bharat Ratna on our 'Jan Nayak' Karpoori Thakur." Hussain said that "no amount of praise is enough" for the government's decision. "The government is today giving him proper respect," he added PTI PK PK ANB ANB