Paswan demands Bharat Ratna for Phule, Jagjivan Ram, Mohd Rafi

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New Delhi, Jan 14 (UNI) With BJP, BSP and Left Parties already recommending their respective leaders' name for Bharat Ratna, Lok Janshakti Party leader and union minister Ram Vilas Paswan today urged the government to give the top civilian award to dalit and Muslim icons like Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, Babu Jagjivan Ram and Mohammad Rafi.

Demanding that awarding Bharat Ratna should be above politics, Mr Paswan said his party would prefer that the award be given to social reformer Jyotiba Phule who not only worked for uplift of dalits but also tried to improve the status of women. He also mentioned Babu Jagjivan Ram, who as a socialist leader and able administrator, worked tirelessly to implement the dream of Baba Saheb Ambedkar while holding various important ministries in the government.

Similarly, Mohammad Rafi had immortalised the Hindi Film music through his melodious songs, he pointed out and said the government could give the award to all the three people who made a name in their respective fields as in previous years sometimes Bharat Ratna had been given to even three or four persons.

Asked whether he supported the Bharat Ratna to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as demanded by the BJP, Mr Paswan said parties should not demand awards on political lines.

Regarding BSP president Mayawati's demand for her mentor and founder president of BSP Kansiram be given Bharat Ratna, Mr Paswan said that Mr Kansiram was not of that stature who should be given Bharat Ratna. He avoided giving a view on the demand for Bharat Ratna for veteran CPI(M) leader Joyti Basu and former Prime Minister V P Singh.

However, Mr Paswan was not averse to Bharat Ratna be given to last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Jafar and reciting the couplets written by the late poet emperor he said the latter had made historic contribution to the first war of independence.

Meanwhile, Mr Paswan, who has returned from his visit to Kuwait, gave details of the problems and exploitation being faced by people from India going there for employment and said he would put their issues before the government so as to get some relief.

Their demand for more flights to Kerala and to Patna would also be taken up with the government, he said.

UNI AJ SP RK1940

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