Bharat Ratna for Vajpayee, Netaji likely

Bharat Ratna for Vajpayee, Netaji likely

Speculation was rife on Sunday that Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee may be named for the country’s highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna.

Though the government has not officially announced it, rumour mills started soon after it became known that the Home Ministry has placed an order for five Bharat Ratna medallions.

Sources said several names are under consideration for the award, including those of Banaras Hindu University founder Madan Mohan Malviya, Dalit leader and Bahujan Samaj Party founder Kanshi Ram and legendary hockey player Dhyanchand. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to announce the names in his Independence Day speech.

The prime minister recommends the names for Bharat Ratna to the President.

A senior Home Ministry official said the RBI mint was asked to make five Bharat Ratna medallions four days ago. “But ordering five medallions does not mean that five persons will be bestowed with Bharat Ratna. This is to keep adequate number of medallions in reserve,” he said. Besides, the government’s rule for Bharat Ratna says the number of annual awards be restricted to a maximum of three a year.

Meanwhile, Netaji’s grandnephew and Trinamool Congress MP Sugato Bose said, “Keep Netaji out of partisan politics. His stature is bigger than Bharat Ratna. How can Netaji be given Bharat Ratna after Rajiv Gandhi? Anyone with a sense of history will agree with me.”

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