New Delhi, Dec 24: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday expressed delight at the Bharat Ratna being conferred on former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the late freedom fighter-educationist Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya.
"Bharat Ratna being conferred on Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya and Atal Bihari Vajpayee is a matter of great delight. Country's highest honour to these illustrious stalwarts is a fitting recognition of their service to the nation," the prime minister said in a statement.
He also said: "Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya is remembered as a phenomenal scholar and freedom fighter who lit the spark of national consciousness among people. Atal-ji means so much to everyone. A guide, inspiration and giant among giants. His contribution to India is invaluable."
Vajpayee and Malaviya were named for India's highest civilian honour ahead of their birth anniversaries Dec 25. Vajpayee was born in 1924 and Malaviya in 1861.
Modi also posted an image of himself with Vajpayee on his Twitter account.
Their birthday has also been declared as "Good Governance Day" by the government.