President Pranab Mukherjee will present the Bharat Ratna award to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today at his residence in New Delhi. In a departure from tradition, President Pranab Mukherjee will confer the Bharat Ratna on Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the residence of the former Prime Minister, today. Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee is the right person to be honoured with the highest award of the country. He is been admired by one and all irrespective of cast, creed and political affiliations. His contribution to the country is not measurable.
Gwalior-born Vajpayee, was prime minister first in 1996 and then again from 1998 to 2004. Vajpayee will be the seventh prime minister to receive the award, after Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Morarji Desai, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Gulzarilal Nanda. He has been credited with taking bold initiatives, notable among them being the historic bus journey to Lahore in 1999 when he signed the landmark Lahore Declaration. Vajpayee's detractors called him the "mask" of RSS but still always had good words for him. Vajpayee was a staunch swayam sevak of Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh. He has been detained by the congress government led by Smt Indira Gandh during the black days of Emergency.