New Delhi, Aug 8 : The highest civilian award of the country Bharat Ratna was conferred on former President Pranab Mukherjee by President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday evening.
Music maestro from Assam Late Bhupen Hazarika and social worker Late Nanaji Deshmukh were also awarded the Bharat Ratna posthumously at a function, also attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu. Mr Mukherjee greeted the Prime Minister and the Vice-President after receiving the prestigious award from the President.
Mr Mukherjee, who was President from 2012 to 2017, has had a distinguished political career spanning five decades during which he has held several top ministerial portfolios at the Centre. Son of Bhupen Hazarika, Tej Hazarika, received the award on his behalf from Mr Kovind.
Chairman of Deendayal Research Institute, Virendrajeet Singh, received the highest civilian award on behalf of Nanaji Deshmukh. A social activist and a former RSS functionary, Nanaji Deshmukh, has worked in the fields of education, health, and rural self-reliance.
The award function was attended by BJP patriarch L K Advani, Union Ministers Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman, Harsh Vardhan, Leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and party MP Shashi Tharoor and Pranab Mukherjee's daughter Sharmistha, among others.Later in a tweet, the official Twitter account of Rashtrapati Bhavan said, 'President Kovind presents Bharat Ratna to Shri Pranab Mukherjee, former President of India. A statesman and one of India’s most respected political leader, Shri Pranab Mukherjee served the nation in various capacities in his long political career spanning over five decades.
President Kovind presents Bharat Ratna to Dr Bhupen Hazarika (posthumously). A renowned singer, lyricist, musician, poet and filmmaker, Bhupen Da popularised India's musical traditions globally.
President Kovind presents Bharat Ratna to Shri Nanaji Deshmukh (Posthumously). Shri Nanaji Deshmukh was an eminent social activist who devoted himself to the welfare of the society and made immense contribution in the fields of education, healthcare and rural development.'(UNI)