Bharat Ratna for L.K. Advani

The Asian Age.

India, All India

Advani said that the award is not only an honour for him as a person but also for the ideals and principles he served

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with veteran BJP leader L K Advani, in New Delhi. (PTI File)

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Saturday that BJP stalwart and former deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani will be conferred the Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian award and described it as an "emotional moment for him". After the announcement, Advani said that the award is not only an honour for him as a person but also for the ideals and principles he served.

Announcing the Bharat Ratna to Advani, the Prime Minister said, “I am very happy to share that Shri L.K. Advani Ji will be conferred the Bharat Ratna. I also spoke to him and congratulated him on being conferred this honour.

“One of the most respected statesmen of our times, his contribution to the development of India is monumental. His is a life that started from working at the grassroots to serving the nation as our deputy Prime Minister. He distinguished himself as our home minister and I&B minister as well. His parliamentary interventions have always been exemplary, full of rich insights,” Modi posted on X.

Hailing Advani as one of the most respected statesmen who challenged dynasty politics and connected India's democracy to "all-inclusive and nationalist ideologies", Modi said, “Advani Ji’s decades-long service in public life has been marked by an unwavering commitment to transparency and integrity, setting an exemplary standard in political ethics. He has made unparalleled efforts towards furthering national unity and cultural resurgence. The conferring of the Bharat Ratna on him is a very emotional moment for me. I will always consider it my privilege that I got countless opportunities to interact with him and learn from him.”

In a statement after the Prime Minister announced his name for the country's highest civilian honour, Advani said, "With utmost humility and gratitude, I accept the Bharat Ratna that has been conferred on me today."

The 96-year-old leader, the longest serving president of the BJP, said that ever since he joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as its volunteer at the age of 14, he has sought reward in only one thing: "in dedicated and selfless service of my beloved country in whatever task life assigned to me."

Advani said that he gratefully remembers two persons with whom he had the honour of working closely — Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, awarded the Bharat Ratna earlier.

Expressing heartfelt gratitude to millions of BJP workers, RSS volunteers and others with whom he had worked in his public life, former deputy Prime Minister thanked President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister for the honour.

"I also express my deepest feelings for all members of my family, especially my dear departed wife Kamla. They have been the greatest source of strength and sustenance in my life. May our great country progress to the pinnacle of greatness and glory," Advani added.

The Bharat Ratna will be bestowed on Advani in the year of the Ram temple's consecration, which marks a triumphant closure for the BJP of an issue that was thrust into popular consciousness by the veteran leader through his "Ram Rath Yatra" in 1990.

The yatra and the mass appeal it drew boosted the party's vote share and made it the key challenger to the Congress, then the biggest national party.