BJP asks PM to confer Bharat Ratna on Vajpayee
New Delhi: BJP on Wednesday asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to confer Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, on Atal Bihari Vajpayee this Republic Day and name the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) after him.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, BJP MP and former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha made the demands while referring to an article by Professor Arvind Panagaria in a leading newspaper where he had made the suggestions for honouring former Prime Minister Vajpayee.
"After mentioning the stellar contribution made by Vajpayee to the economic development of India, he (Panagaria) has concluded by saying that we should name the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana as Atal Gram Sadak Yojana and we should also confer Bharat Ratna on him," Sinha said.
The BJP leader said that Panagaria was not affiliated to any political party and maintained that he had only "objectively stated what he and millions of others feel".
The demand for bestowing the Bharat Ratna on Vajpayee has been made on some earlier occasions as well.
Sinha said the people of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand were grateful to Vajpayee for carving out these states.
"As an MP elected from Jharkhand, I consider it as my pious duty to urge upon you to concede both the demands raised by Professor Panagaria--conferring Bharat Ratna on Vajpayee on the occasion of the forthcoming Republic Day and also naming PMGSY as Atal Gram Sadak Yojana," he said.
"I am sure you will demonstrate the magnanimity and grace to give a great man his due," he said while referring to the "unique contribution" made by Vajpayee to public life and his role in the development of the country.