Conferment of Bharat Ratna on Vajpayee Was Overdue: Lord Paul

H S Rao/London
Conferment of Bharat Ratna on Vajpayee Was Overdue: Lord Paul

Describing Atal Bihari Vajpayee as an "outstanding statesman" and a "great human being", leading NRI industrialist Lord Swraj Paul today said the conferment of Bharat Ratna on the former Prime Minister was overdue and most well deserved.

Vajpayee, a charismatic personality who crafted consensual politics that found acceptability across the political spectrum, was today chosen for the country's highest civilian award Bharat Ratna along with late educationist and freedom fighter Madan Mohan Malviya.

The announcement came ahead of the birthday of Vajpayee, who turns 90, and 153rd birth anniversary of Malviya tomorrow.

"I congratulate President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for awarding the Bharat Ratna to Vajpayee. It was overdue and most well deserved," Paul said.

"Vajpayee was the first Prime Minister of India who successfully ran a coalition government. His style, whether initially as External Affairs Minister and then Prime Minister was always down to earth. He is an outstanding statesman and a great human being, known for his honesty and principles," he said.

"He not only carried his coalition partners with him but also carried the people of India and won great admiration," Paul added.

Vajpayee, who was Prime Minister from 1998 to 2004, and has faded from public life due to age-related illness, is lauded as a statesman and has been often described as the moderate face of BJP.

Vajpayee has been credited with taking bold initiatives, notable being the attempt to bridge Indo-Pak differences.

The recommendation for Bharat Ratna is made by the Prime Minister himself to the President. No formal recommendation for this is necessary.

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