By Our Special Correspondent
New Delhi, February 9: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced the names of three more Bharat Ratna awardees. He announced on the social media platform X that former Prime Minister PV Narsimha Rao, former deputy Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh, and agriculture scientist MS Swaminathan will get the Bharat Ratna awards, all posthumously.
The government had previously announced that former Chief Minister of Bihar Karpoori Thakur and former deputy PM LK Advani will be given the Bharat Ratna awards. If no more announcements are now made, the Modi government will account for as many giving away the maximum five recognitions with the top civilian awards in a single year.
The inaugural recognition of Bharat Ratna in 1954 had gone to three distinguished personalities – C. Rajagopalachari (first Indian Governor General), Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (first Vice President of India), and Nobel Prize Laureate C. V. Raman. Former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi had also invited criticism after Bharat Ratna Awards were given in election years to K. Kamraj and MG Ramachandran respectively.
The announcement of Bharat Ratna Awards to five persons, four posthumously, has ahead of the poll date announcement by the Election Commission for the Lok Sabha elections. Incidentally, the political observers see a grand design behind the decision in the backdrop of the Lok Sabha elections.
With Advani, the prime minister appears to have kept the Ram Temple plot warm for the polls. By announcing Bharat Ratna for Karpoori Thakur, the BJP hopes to gain vote base in the extremely backward castes. This decision came ahead of the JD (U) coming back to the National Democratic Alliance front.
The announcement of the decision to give Bharat Ratna to Chaudhary Charan Singh has come amid claims of the Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Jayant Chaudhary returning to the NDA. The BJP is aiming for the Jat vote base consolidation in the western Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Rajasthan for the Lok Sabha elections.
The BJP hopes to gain vote base in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana with former PM PV Narsimha Rao being given the Bharat Ratna. Similarly, the BJP hopes to gain positive views in Tamil Nadu with the announcement of the Bharat Ratna for MS Swaminathan. Incidentally, the announcement of the decision to award Bharat Ratna to PV Narsimha Rao came ahead of the meeting of the former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandra Babu Naidu with the prime minister. There is speculation doing the rounds that Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party will also join the NDA ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
Advani is widely known as Hindutva hardliner. Rao gained fame for economic reforms. Chaudhary remains an icon for farmers. Swaminathan was India’s foremost agriculture expert.