Advani proposes Vajpayee's name for Bharat Ratna

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{image-advani+vajpayee_09012008.jpg}New Delhi, Jan 9: Leader of Opposition L K Advani today proposed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to confer the country's highest civilian award 'Bharat Ratna' on BJP patriarch Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Republic Day for his contribution to the Parliamentary democracy. In a two-page letter written to the Prime Minister, Mr Advani said Mr Vajpayee was the longest serving Parliamentarian with over 50 years of service and had been the longest serving PM of the country after Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.

It was during his tenure that India became a nuclear weapon state and he had shattered the myth that the coalitions could not offer stable governments. ''He is the one who has spent most of his life in Parliament on the opposition benches fighting authoritarianism and had suffered imprisonment during emergency.'' Mr Advani, who was proposed by Mr Vajpayee as the BJP Prime Ministerial candiate for 2009 Lok Sabha elections, said, ''Atalji never hesitated to praise the good work of the government of the day whenever he felt it was necessary.'' He cited the instances of liberation of Bangladesh in 1971 and India conducting first nuclear test in 1974 and the unleashing of the economic reforms by the P V Narashimha Rao government when Dr Singh was the Finance Minister.

Mr Vajpayee made sincere efforts to normalise relations with Pakistan and whenever it misbehaved he did not hesitate to ask Islamabad to liberate the occupied portions.

He not only strengthened national security but also took some pathbreaking initiatives like National Highway Development Project, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan for socio-economic development. He also encouraged IT and Telecom revolution. Mr Vajpayee helped 2.5 crore Non-Resident Indians to link up with their motherland by organising 'Pravasi Bharatiya' conferences, he said.


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