New Delhi: Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's niece, Karuna Shukla, has welcomed the announcement of the conferment of the nation's highest civilian honour - the Bharat Ratna - on her uncle and on freedom fighter Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya.
Welcoming the news, Karuna said, "It is a matter of great pride for us."
When asked whether the honour was being given after a long delay, she said that raising this issue was pointless, and what mattered was the recognition being given to two outstanding individuals by the nation.
"I don't have words to describe my feelings, extremely happy. I'm delighted, should have happened earlier, I extend my heartiest wishes to Modi ji for this," said Anoop Mishra, another relative of former prime minister Vajpayee.
A statement from President Pranab Mukherjee's office confirmed the development stating, "The President has been pleased to award Bharat Ratna to Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya (posthumously) and to Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee."
Janata Dal (United) leader KC Tyagi also expressed joy at Vajpaaye and Madan Mohan Malviya sharing the prestigious honour.
"I welcome the decision of honouring former prime minister Atal ji and Madan Mohan Malaviya ji with Bharat Ratna," he said.
The news has come a day before Vajpayee enters his 91st year, which is being celebrated as 'Good Governance Day'.