New Delhi, Dec 24: BJP veteran LK Advani on Wednesday became emotional as he hailed the announcement of Bharat Ratna for Atal Bihari Vajpayee with whom he has shared over five decades of close relationship.
He regretted that the former UPA government had not honoured Vajpayee with the highest civilian award as he recalled that he had written to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in this regard in 2008.
"I wholeheartedly welcome the decision of the government to honour two outstanding patriots with Bharat Ratna," he told PTI soon after an official announcement was made.
The Deputy Prime Minister in the Vajpayee government turned emotional as he spoke of the honour for his close associate of over five decades. Vajpayee and Advani, founding members of BJP, worked in tandem to assiduously steer the party into the mainstream of Indian politics and then propelled it to power in 90s.
Vajpayee has lately faded away from active public life due to illness.
"If I was to think of all persons who had been Prime Minister and draw up a balance sheet of their achievements and shortcomings, I would think that Vajpayee was the only one with a longish tenure whose entire term was without any blemish and shortcomings," Advani said.