New Delhi, Jan 2: Days after NDA government announced awarding former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee with the Bharat Ratna, Sanjay Baru, former media advisor to former PM Manmohan Singh, has revealed that Singh wanted to honour Vajpayee with India's highest civilian honour but failed.
Baru has also claimed that he had suggested the name of former PM PV Narasimha Rao, alongwith Vajpayee, for the highest civilian award, to which Manmohan had even agreed. But reluctance on the part of leaders in the Congress resulted it in not becoming a reality.
Author of controversial book "The Accidental Prime Minister" has claimed that during his tenure as media advisor to PM (2004-08) Baru claimed that Congress was reluctant on both the names.
As per a report published in TOI, recollecting the days when Singh was in office, Baru said, "Every year for four years from 2004 onwards when the subject of the Bharat Ratna was discussed, I would suggest that both former PMs be given the Bharat Ratna. The PM would agree but it would end at that. I don't know if he broached the subject with Congress president Sonia Gandhi or if it was shot down."
Baru has also reportedly said that by not choosing Rao's name the incumbent government has also missed an opportunity as honouring the former Congress PM could have only helped the party.
The Narendra Modi government had on Dec 24 announced awarding Bharat Ratna to Atal Bihar Vajpayee and eminent educationist, freedom fighter Pt Madan Mohan Malaviya (posthumously). This decision was taken in a meeting of the Union Cabinet on Dec 24.
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.