Bharat Ratna: BJP co-founder LK Advani to receive India’s highest civilian award

LK Advani conferred with Bharat Ratna
LK Advani conferred with Bharat Ratna. Photo Courtesy: Narendra Modi X page

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday (February 3, 2024) announced that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) co-founder and the Ram Mandir agitation face, LK Advani, will be conferred Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in the country.

In a long X post, Modi on Saturday shared a few pictures with Advani, the longest serving BJP president and an ex-Deputy Prime Minister, and said it was an emotional moment for him.

His X post reads, “I am very happy to share that Shri LK 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.”

The Prime Minister added, “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.”

What did LK Advani say?

“With utmost humility and gratitude, I accept the Bharat Ratna that has been conferred on me today,” he said in a statement as quoted by Press Trust of India soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his name for the country’s highest civilian honour.

Expressing heartfelt gratitude to millions of BJP workers, RSS volunteers and others with whom he had worked in his public life, Advani thanked President Droupadi Murmu and Modi 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,” he said.

He added, “May our great country progress to the pinnacle of greatness and glory.”

LK Advani and his political life

LK Advani and his political journey

Advani, who served as the Deputy Prime Minister from 2002 to 2004, was one of the co-founders of BJP, which came to power for the first time in 1990s.

Born in Karachi and moved to India during Partition, Advani joined BJP’s ideological parent body Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1941.

Advani, who was BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate in 2009 but lost to Congress-led coalition, is the longest-serving BJP president, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and Union Home Minister.

The BJP stalwart was the leader of BJP’s movement supporting the construction of Ram Temple, which was inaugurated by PM Modi on January 22 ending a wait of years, in the disputed site of Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya in 1990s.

His speech in favour of Ram Temple construction is alleged to have provoked the demolition of Babri Masjid in the disputed site by a mob.

He had last contested an election in 2014 from Gujarat’s Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency, which is now Union Home Minister and BJP strongman Amit Shah’s parliamentary seat.