New Delhi, Dec 24: Political leaders cutting across party lines today welcomed government's decision to confer Bharat Ratna on freedom fighter Madan Mohan Malviya and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Vajpayee's long-time political colleague L K Advani said he was happy with the government decision to bestow the highest civilian award to the former Prime Minister.
The Congress welcomed the decision to confer the Bharat Ratna on former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and late freedom fighter and educationist Madan Mohan Malaviya.
Congress general secretary Ajay Maken tweeted a congratulatory message after the announcement was made. "We welcome the conferring of Bharat Ratna on Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya and Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. We congratulate," Maken said.
"I am very happy that Government has decided to honour Atal ji with Bharat Ratna." JD(U) leader and former Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar congratulated Vajpayee and said the UPA government should have conferred the award on the former Prime Minister.
"Atal ji's contribution to the country will always be remembered. I congratulate him. We also wanted Bharat Ratna for Atal ji. The UPA government should have given this award to him," Kumar said.
Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, who is also a Bharat Ratna recipient, said he was "absolutely delighted" to get the news. "I think he deserves to be honoured in every possible way because in many ways he was a very great statesman of the country and one doesn't have to agree with every bit of his policy to appreciate the human quality that was behind his Prime Ministerial leadership," he said.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi too welcomed the decision. "Very happy to know that Bharat Ratna is being conferred on Vajpayee and Malviya ji. Everyone knows Malviya ji was a freedom fighter and an educationist. When Vajpayee was the PM, even if he was in a different party he helped me. I am also personally grateful to him," Gogoi said.