Bharat Ratna For Karpoori Thakur: PM Modi Writes Tribute Article, Leaders Hail Honour To Former Bihar CM

Prime Minister Modi paid tribute to the late political leader by writing an article on the occasion of Karpoori Thakur's 100th birth anniversary.

(Source: Screengrab/X/ Amit Shah)
Former Bihar Chief Minister and socialist leader Karpoori Thakur Photo: (Source: Screengrab/X/ Amit Shah)

In its sixth Bharat Ratna nomination in nearly a decade of governance, the Narendra Modi government announced on Tuesday the selection of former Bihar Chief Minister and socialist leader Karpoori Thakur for the country's highest civilian honour. 

This recognition comes 35 years after his passing on February 17, 1988.

Also known as "Jan Nayak" in the state, Karpoori Thakur held the position of Chief Minister of Bihar for two non-consecutive terms – from December 1970 to June 1971 and from December 1977 to April 1979.

The decision to honour Thakur with the Bharat Ratna fulfils a longstanding demand of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his party, the Janata Dal-United.

The announcement was met with enthusiasm by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), its allies, and various leaders, who described it as 'historic'. Prime Minister Modi paid tribute to the late political leader by writing an article on the occasion of Thakur's 100th birth anniversary.

“I bow to Jan Nayak Karpoori Thakur Ji on his birth centenary. On this special occasion, our Government has had the honour of conferring the Bharat Ratna on him. I’ve penned a few thoughts on his unparalleled impact on our society and polity,” Prime Minister tweeted on X.

Excerpts From PM Modi’s Article:

“Jan Nayak Kapoor Thakur Ji's life revolved around the twin pillars of simplicity and social justice. Till his last breath, his simple lifestyle and humble nature resonated deeply with the common people. Those who worked with him recall how he preferred to spend his own money for any personal matter including his daughter's wedding.”
“Among the galaxy of top leaders walked in Chief Minister Karpoori Thakur Ji, with a torn Kurta. In his own style, Chandrashekhar Ji asked people to donate some money so that Karpoori Ji could purchase a new Kurta. But, Karpoori Ji was Karpoori Ji- he accepted the money but donated it to the CM Relief Fund.”
“Democracy, debate and discussion were integral to Karpoori Ji's personality. This spirit was seen when he immersed himself in the Quit India movement as a youngster and it was again seen when he resisted the Emergency tooth and nail.”

How other leaders across the country reacted:

1. Bihar Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar,  JD(U): "We have always been demanding to give 'Bharat Ratna' to Late Karpoori Thakur ji. The years old demand has been fulfilled today. Thanks to Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for this."

2. Union Home Minister Amit Shah: "Today, the decision of the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi ji to honor Karpoori Thakur ji with Bharat Ratna on his birth centenary is a true tribute to his tireless struggles. With this decision the young generation will be able to know the immense contribution of Karpoori Babu."

3. Union Minister Smriti Irani: "Under the leadership of the Prime Minister @narendramodi ji, the Central Government has taken an important decision to honor Karpoori Thakur ji, the pioneer of social justice, the messiah of the poor, who made the soil of Bihar proud, the "pride of the nation", with 'Bharat Ratna'. "

4. ⁠Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav (Rashtriya Janata Dal): "We feel extremely happy that our decades-old demand of giving 'Bharat Ratna' to late Karpoori Thakur ji, the advocate of the deprived, neglected, oppressed and ridiculed classes, great socialist leader and former Chief Minister of Bihar, has been fulfilled. Thanks to the central government for this. "

5. Congress Leader Surendra Rajput: "We welcome the announcement that Karpoori Thakur has been honoured with the Bharat Ratna. This announcement has been made at a time when elections are around the corner and opposition party leaders such as Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav, Lalu Prasad and MK Stalin are demanding that caste census be conducted. To suppress this demand, this move has been made."

6. Ram Nath Thakur, JD(U) MP and son of Jannayak Karpoori Thakur: "Everything happens in its own time. Previous governments did not take this decision (to confer former Bihar CM Karpoori Thakur with Bharat Ratna) and today, 36 years after his demise, the Central Government has taken this decision on his birth centenary; I thank the government on behalf of the people of Bihar and express my gratitude."