Controversies spur over Bharat Ratna awardee former President Pranab Mukherjee

New Delhi: Former President Pranab Mukherjee was chosen for Bharat Ratna Award- one of the prestigious highest civilian awards in India along with late RSS ideologue Nanaji Deshmukh and late singer Bhupen Hazarika this Friday.

With this election to the most prestigious awards came political perspective as well as universal approval of choices and Pranab’s election was quickly interpreted as an attempt to court the Bengal electorate as well as a token of appreciation by Sanghparivar when he had visited the RSS headquarters in June in less than a year after retiring as President, the Telegraph reported.

Speculations made the internet rounds as Mukherjee visited the RSS headquarters. Sources also said he had delighted the Sangh Parivar with his trip to Nagpur, where he shared a stage with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and also the visit, for some, indicated the acceptance of Sangh Parivar and it’s agenda to some extent.

Well, Hazarika’s election is being seen as an effort to cool tempers in Assam while protests are intensifying against the central government’s citizenship bill.

Meanwhile, Congress supremo Rahul Gandhi congratulated the awardees on Twitter. He tweeted: “Congratulations to Pranab Da on being awarded the Bharat Ratna! The Congress Party takes great pride in the fact that the immense contribution to public service & nation building of one of our own has been recognised & honoured.”

“I’m happy that Shri Bhupen Hazarika and Nanaji Deshmukh have been honoured, posthumously, with the Bharat Ratna,” Rahul added in his tweet.
CPM and the Trinamul Congress too congratulated Mukherjee will Janata Dal dSecular did not seem to be glad about the news.

Janata Dal Secular politician Danish Ali said: “Pranab Mukherjee is being awarded the Bharat Ratna because he visited the RSS headquarters and described the founding Sarsanghchalak chief, K.B. Hedgewar, as ‘the son of the soil’.”

PM Modi too reacted to the announcements on Twitter.

“Pranab Da is an outstanding statesman of our times. He has served the nation selflessly and tirelessly for decades, leaving a strong imprint on the nation’s growth trajectory. His wisdom and intellect have few parallels. Delighted that he has been conferred the Bharat Ratna,” Modi posted.

“The songs and music of Shri Bhupen Hazarika are admired by people across generations. From them radiates the message of justice, harmony and brotherhood. He popularised India’s musical traditions globally. Happy that the Bharat Ratna has been conferred on Bhupen Da,” he added.

Returning the gratitude, Mukherjee: “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.”

RSS ideologue Deshmukh, on the other hand, had joined the RSS inspired by its founder K.B. Hedgewar which was later associated with the RSS political arm, Jana Sangh which has now evolved into the BJP.

Deshmukh served the government in the 1970s and chose to quit active politics in 1980, when he was in his early 60s, and devoted himself to rural development.

“Nanaji Deshmukh’s stellar contribution towards rural development showed the way for a new paradigm of empowering those living in our villages…. He is a Bharat Ratna in the truest sense!” Modi tweeted.

Speaking of Padma Bhushan awardees, Malayalam actor Mohanlal, who according to unconfirmed reports could be a BJP candidate in the upcoming general election, V.K. Shunglu, the retired CAG who had probed the 2010 Commonwealth Games scandal which was signed by UPA government were included.

While the Padma Shris include former foreign secretary S. Jaishankar and a transgender person, Narthaki Nataraj, a Bharatanatyam practitioner from Tamil Nadu.