Pranab Mukherjee, Nanaji Deshmukh awarded Bharat Ratna

On 26th January 2019, President Ramnath Kovind conferred the Bharat Ratna, the nation’s highest civilian honour, on former President Pranab Mukherjee, along with social activist Nanaji Deshmukh (posthumous), and Assamese musician Bhupen Hazarika (posthumous). Nanaji Deshmukh was a senior RSS leader who also worked for rural development and welfare of farmers, and was considered a stalwart of the Sangh Parivar. Mr. Hazarika’s award appears to be a nod to the importance the North East has been accorded by the current government amid huge unrest following the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill being pushed. Mr. Mukherjee is a Congressman for five decades before he became President (2012-2017) spoke at an annual RSS event in Nagpur in 2018. The last time Bharat Ratnas were conferred was in 2015, when educationalist-politician Madan Mohan Malviya and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee were the recipients.

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