Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to confer the 'Bharat Ratna', the highest civilian award in the country, on socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia.
In a three-page letter addressed to the PM, Kumar drew Modi's attention towards Lohia's role in the struggle for Independence, his efforts in bringing together non-Congress parties during the time of Nehru, his model of socialism rooted in Indian realities and his emphasis on issues of public sanitation and women's upliftment decades ago.
The chief minister also highlighted Lohia's active participation in the movement for Goa's liberation from Portuguese rule and suggested that the international airport in the coastal state be named after him.
"Lohia had gone to the extent of saying that he would give up opposing Nehru if the latter got toilets constructed for rural women. His foresight can also be gauged from his emphasis on equipping kitchens with chimneys so that smoke did not spoil women's' health, " the Kumar said in the letter.
"In the light of these facts, it would be appropriate that the Government of India confer Bharat Ratna on Lohia, in the honour of his contributions, on his death anniversary on October 12 and also rename the Goa International Airport as Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Airport," he said.