Advani refuses to comment on clamour for Bharat Ratna

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New Delhi, Jan 15 (UNI) Leader of Opposition L K Advani, whose suggestion to confer the Bharat Ratna on former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee set off a clamour among various political parties proposing their own candidates, today maintained a studied silence on the issue.

''I have said whatever I wanted to...I have nothing more to say now,'' he told UNI on the sidelines of a function here.

Mr Advani had recently written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh proposing the nation's highest civilian award be conferred on the veteran politician and former Prime Minister. Following his suggestion, various parties started proposing their own candidates.

BSP supremo and UP Chief Minister Mayawati suggested her mentor and party founder Kanshi Ram, the CPI(M) proposed party patriach and former West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu (though Mr Basu denied he was in the running) and the Samajwadi Janata Party proposed its chief and former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar.

The RLD gave the name of kisan leader and former Prime Minister Charan Singh, the RJD backed veteran socialist leader and former Bihar Chief Minister Karpoori Thakur and the Lok Janshakti Party proposed social reformer Mahatma Jyotirao Phule, former Defence Minister and prominent Dalit leader Jagjivan Ram and prominent singer Mohd Rafi.

Yesterday, Delhi Assembly's Deputy Speaker Shoaib Iqbal had gone a step forward and proposed the name of last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, who had been deposed by the British after the 1857 revolt and died in exile in Myanmar.

UNI VD AKJ BD1830

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