New Delhi, March 25:President Pranab Mukherjee will present the Bharat Ratna to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at his residence on Friday, Rashtrapati Bhavan said on Wednesday.
The president will also confer the Bharat Ratna on Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya (posthumously) on March 30 at Rashtrapati Bhavan along with the Civil Investiture Ceremony for the Padma Awards, a statement said.
The honour for Gwalior-born Vajpayee, who was prime minister first in 1996 and then again from 1998 to 2004, came after years of demands from all sections of society, including political leaders irrespective of party affiliations.
Vajpayee will be the seventh prime minister to receive the award, after Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Morarji Desai, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Gulzarilal Nanda.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his Lok Sabha campaign, had promised Bharat Ratna for late freedom fighter-educationist Malaviya, who was also founder of the Banaras Hindu University.
In December last year, the Modi Government had recommended the names of the former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and late freedom fighter Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya to President Pranab Mukherjee.
Modi government's decision to confer the award to Vajpayee and Malaviya was also welcomed by the Congress, besides other political parties like Shiv Sena and JD(U).
The Bharat Ratna Award, instituted on January 2, 1954, is conferred "in recognition of exceptional service/performance of the highest order", without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex.
(With agency inputs)