Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honour of India, will be conferred on former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the late Madan Mohan Malviya, an educationist and the founder of the Banaras Hindu University at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. President Pranab Mukherjee’s office made the announcement on Twitter on Wednesday morning.
“[I am] pleased to award Bharat Ratna to Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya (posthumously) and to Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee,” read a tweet posted on the official twitter account of President Mukherjee.
The announcement comes on the eve of Mr Vajpayee’s 90th birthday, which the Modi Government has said will be celebrated as Good Governance Day. Incidentally, 25 December 2014 will also mark the 153rd birth anniversary of Malviya.
PM candidate Narendra Modi had spoken of Bharat Ratna for Malviya during his 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign. Incidentally, the Banaras Hindu University is located in Mr Modi’s parliamentary constituency Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
The award has so far been conferred on 43 personalities, including, but not limited to, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Morarji Desai and Vallabhbhai Patel.