Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: In the wake of the government demanding coveted Bharat Ratna to cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar who retired from international cricket last week, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday demanded that former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee should also be confered with the country`s highest civilian award.
Addressing a rally in Chhattisgarh capital Raipur, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad questioned why the former PM was not considered for the Bharat Ratna award.
He added that once the NDA came to power in 2014, Mr Vajpayee will soon be awarded with the prestigious award.
"I respect Sachin Tendulkar, but why hasn`t Atal Bihari Vajpayee been awarded Bharat Ratna," said Prasad.
"I am raising the issue of not considering the former prime minister for Bharat Ratna from Chhattisgarh, a state which was created at the initiative of Atal Bihari Vajpayee," he said.
"We will do justice when NDA comes to power in next year`s parliament elections."
This is not the first time the BJP is raising the issue of the Bharat Ratna to be given to Vajpayee, who was a towering leader.
Earlier, BJP MP and former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha had written to PM demanding the award to be conferred on Vajpayee this Republic Day given the “unique contribution” made by Vajpayee to public life and his role in the development of the country.
Questioning the delay in awarding Bharat Ratna to towering political leaders, Prasad said, "Sardar Patel was a national hero, why did he get Bharat Ratna after 41 years? Even Mulana Azad got it much later."
BJP`s demand came a day after the government announced to confer Bharat Ratna award on the legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and renowned scientist CNR Rao.
The news of Tendulakar being awarded Bharat Ratna was yesterday greeted with cheer across party lines with BJP`s PM candidate Narendra Modi congratulating the little master.