Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party celebrated party stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee`s birthday with much fanfare as the former prime minister turned 89 on Wednesday and launched several initiatives to mark the occasion.
In the meantime, BJP president Rajnath Singh said that Vajpayee “does not need a Bharat Ratna as he is a ratna (gem) to Bharat himself.”
However, Harish Khurana and Satish Upadhyay, spokespersons for the Delhi unit of the BJP, have written a letter to the President urging him to confer the Bharat Ratna on Vajpayee.
"Crores of people of the country and the world want that Vajpayee be conferred the highest honour of the country," a statement from the BJP`s Delhi unit quoted them as saying.
Last month also, the BJP had asked why the India`s highest civilian honour has not been conferred on Vajpayee.
Deputy leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ravi Shankar Prasad, had also said after the next General Elections if BJP comes to power, it will felicitate Vajpayee with the highest civilian honour, which he deserves.
Meanwhile, offering his warm wishes to the former Indian PM, Rajnath Singh described Vajpayee as Indian political history’s most valuable person and added that he is being respected, not just by the BJP, but, also by other parties.
“During his time as Prime Minister of India, he established a paradigm of good governance in the country. During his six-year period in office, the NDA Government was exemplary on the parameters of good governance,” he added
Regarded as one of the pillars of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Vajpayee has been a stalwart in the Indian political arena for over six decades.
Vajpayee served as the tenth Prime Minister of India, three times - first for a brief term of 13 days in 1996, and then for two terms from 1998 to 2004.
After his first brief period as Prime Minister in 1996, Vajpayee headed a coalition government from March 19, 1998 until May 19, 2004. A parliamentarian for over four decades, Vajpayee was elected to the Lok Sabha a record nine times, and to the Rajya Sabha twice.
He served as the Member of Parliament for Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, until 2009, when he retired from active politics due to health concerns. He is a gifted orator and also a poet.
(With ANI inputs)