President Murmu Confers Bharat Ratna on L.K. Advani in PM Modi's Presence

The Asian Age.  | Age Correspondent

India, All India

President Droupadi Murmu confers the Bharat Ratna on L.K. Advani during a felicitation ceremony at the BJP leader's residence.

President Droupadi Murmu confers Bharat Ratna on veteran BJP leader L K Advani at his residence, in New Delhi, Sunday, March 31, 2024. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also seen. (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: President Droupadi Murmu conferred the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, on BJP stalwart and former deputy prime minister L.K. Advani on Sunday. The felicitation ceremony took place at the 96-year-old BJP leader’s official residence and was attended by vice-president Jagdeep Dhankhar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, defence minister Rajnath Singh, Union home minister Amit Shah and the family members of Advani.

Modi sat next to Advani as the President honoured the veteran leader with the Bharat Ratna. The Rashtrapati Bhavan described Advani as a doyen of Indian politics and said that he has served the nation with unwavering dedication and distinction for over seven decades.

Noting that it was special to witness the conferring of the Bharat Ratna on Advani, Modi posted on X, “This honour is a recognition of his enduring contributions to the nation’s progress. His dedication to public service and his pivotal role in shaping modern India have left an indelible mark on our history. I am proud to have got the opportunity to work with him very closely over the last several decades.”

The Rashtrapati Bhavan said as a parliamentarian, Advani’s emphasis on dialogue enriched parliamentary traditions and whether as home minister or as the deputy prime minister, he always prioritised national interest above all, earning him respect and admiration from across party lines.

A high point in Advani’s political life came when he spearheaded the Ram Janmabhoomi movement in the late 1980s and laid the foundation for the revival of cultural nationalism.

“His long and tireless struggle for India’s cultural regeneration culminated in the reconstruction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya in 2024,” said the statement by the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Born in Karachi (now in Pakistan) in 1927, Advani migrated to India in 1947 during Partition.

The 96-year-old BJP stalwart served as deputy prime minister from June 2002 to May 2004 and as Union home minister from October 1999 to May 2004. He was BJP president multiple times -- from 1986 to 1990, 1993 to 1998, and 2004 to 2005.

During his tenure as India’s home minister, Advani brought about the most comprehensive reforms in India’s national security system. The BJP veteran took a pro-active and uncompromising approach to countering cross-border terrorism and made sincere as well as consistent efforts to bring peace in Kashmir. His emphasis on harmonious centre-state relations resulted in the carving out of three new states -- Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Uttarakhand.

During his fight against Emergency (1975-77), Advani spent 19 months in Bangalore’s Central Jail. For his exceptional service in public life, Advani was conferred Padma Vibhushan, the country’s second-highest civilian award, in 2015.