Poignant acknowledgement of a 'national hero's life': Leaders hail Bharat Ratna to Advani

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New Delhi, Feb 3 (PTI) Congratulatory messages poured in from various quarters as BJP stalwart and former deputy prime minister L K Advani's name was announced as a recipient of the Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian award, on Saturday.

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the announcement, Union ministers and top leaders of the BJP and its allies said the award to Advani is "well deserved" and serves as a poignant acknowledgment of a "national hero's life" devoted to the service of the nation.

They also thanked the prime minister for the government's decision.

Congratulating Advani, Modi said, "One of the most respected statesmen of our times, his contribution to the development of India is monumental." In a post on X, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, "The decision to award Bharat Ratna to the revered Lal Krishna Advani ji, an inspiration to all of us and a senior leader of the country, has brought great joy and happiness. He is a symbol of purity, dedication and determination in politics." The significant contribution that Advani has made to the country's development and nation building in various roles during his long public life is "unforgettable and inspiring", he said.

Advani has also played an "important role in keeping the unity and integrity of India intact".

As a national leader, he has strengthened the country and democracy through his scholarship, parliamentary and administrative abilities, the defence minister added.

"I thank Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji for this decision and congratulate Advani ji," he said, adding it is a "matter of joy for every Indian".

Advani, 96, was the BJP's longest serving president.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur extended "sincerest wishes" to the party veteran on being conferred the highest civilian award and said it serves as a "poignant acknowledgment of a national hero's life" devoted to the service of the nation.

"This well-deserved Bharat Ratna, conferred under the leadership of Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji, serves as a poignant acknowledgment of a national hero's life devoted to the service of the nation," Thakur wrote in a post on X.

"I extend my sincerest wishes to Shri L K Advani ji on being conferred with the prestigious Bharat Ratna for his decades-long service to the nation and the people," he added.

Thakur described Advani as a "stalwart statesman" and said his "monumental contributions" have left an indelible mark on the trajectory of India's development, leaving an enduring legacy in the realms of politics and cultural unity.

"His unwavering dedication to public service, spanning from grassroots engagements to serving as our Deputy Prime Minister and holding notable positions in the Union Cabinet including I&B Ministry, exemplifies his strong belief in the freedom of expression, the role of media in nation building and lifelong commitment to welfare of the nation," the minister said.

"With his valuable insights and wisdom, he brought forward profound understanding of the nuanced intricacies of governance in the Parliament, setting standards of integrity and transparency," he added.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, in a post on X, said the decision to present Advani, the founding member of the BJP and "source of inspiration for countless workers" with Bharat Ratna "is in recognition of his decades of service, commitment and unwavering commitment towards the integrity of the nation in public life and political career." "This is going to honour his unique efforts in setting high standards of purity and morality. His tireless efforts towards national integration and cultural revival are a source of unique inspiration for all of us. Hearty congratulations to respected Advani ji!," Adityanath's post added. Union Minister Jitendra Singh said the announcement to confer the BJP stalwart with Bharat Ratna is a "proud moment for all the countrymen".

"It (Bharat Ratna to Advani) is a moment of pride and satisfaction for all Indians. We are thankful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for fulfilling our desire," Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a function in Jammu.

Earlier in a post on X, the minister of state in the Prime Minister's office termed the announcement of Bharat Ratna to Advani "very pleasant and joyful".

LJP (Ram Vilas) chief Chirag Paswan, whose party is a BJP ally, extended "heartiest" congratulations to Advani and expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Modi for the government conferring Bharat Ratna on the BJP stalwart.

"Under the leadership of the country's illustrious Prime Minister, Honorable Shri Narendra Modi, it has been announced to confer 'Bharat Ratna' on the top man of Indian politics, former Deputy Prime Minister, Honorable Shri LK Advani," Chirag wrote on X.

"For this, from the bottom of my heart, I convey my heartiest congratulations and best wishes to respected Shri Lal Krishna Advani ji. Many thanks and gratitude to Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji," he added.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami hailed the Centre's decision to confer Bharat Ratna on Advani.

"It is a matter of great happiness for us that BJP stalwart and our guide Sri Lal Krishna Advani ji is to be conferred the Bharat Ratna," Dhami said in a social media post.

Describing Advani as a leading political figure of India and a pillar of the Ram temple movement, the chief minister said he is a powerful symbol of integrity and commitment.

"He has been an inspiration for all of us," he said.

Dhami said his farsighted leadership and contribution to the country's development as the deputy prime minister, home minister and information and broadcasting minister are unforgettable. PTI PK ALM TAS RPA