Bharat Ratna Choices Under Modi Government

Bharat Ratna Choices Under Modi Government: A Political Chessboard

In its recent announcement, the Narendra Modi government nominated former Bihar chief minister Karpoori Thakur for the prestigious Bharat Ratna, marking the sixth such nomination during its nearly ten years in power. This move holds political significance, as the government’s choices for the Bharat Ratna have consistently signals is  political strategy.  Let’s explore the pattern behind these nominations:

Karpoori Thakur’s Nomination

The latest Bharat Ratna nomination goes to Karpoori Thakur, the former Bihar chief minister renowned for pioneering OBC and EBC reservations. This decision comes at a time when the Opposition is focusing on advocating for a caste census, creating a potential counter to the BJP’s post-Ram Temple Hindutva fervor.

 Choices by Modi Government

The Modi government has displayed political acumen in its Bharat Ratna selections, carefully aligning them with its ideological and strategic objectives. The choices extend beyond mere recognition of an individual’s contributions, thus it is reinforcing the political strategies behind nimination.

Earlier Awardees under Modi’s Tenure`

The five previous Bharat Ratna recipients during Modi’s tenure include Madan Mohan Malviya, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Pranab Mukherjee, Bhupen Hazarika, and Nanaji Deshmukh. Each nomination reflects a deliberate move to underscore ideological connections or correct perceived historical oversights.

Recognition for Sangh Parivar Ideals

Madan Mohan Malviya, a Congress leader who also founded the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha and Banaras Hindu University, received the Bharat Ratna as an endorsement of the Sangh Parivar’s view that Malviya did not receive due recognition under the Congress.

 Acknowledging Vajpayee’s Legacy

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a stalwart in the BJP, was chosen for his extensive parliamentary career and his role as the first non-Congress Prime Minister to complete a full five-year term. The acknowledgment of Vajpayee’s achievements also served as a signal to the BJP’s internal factions.

 Pranab Mukherjee’s Unique Recognition

Pranab Mukherjee, a Congress veteran, was recognized by the Modi government, highlighting the BJP’s narrative of the Congress sidelining key leaders. The Bharat Ratna for Mukherjee followed his acceptance of an invitation to deliver a lecture at the RSS headquarters in Nagpur.

Regional and Cultural Recognition

Bhupen Hazarika’s nomination fulfilled a regional demand and aligned with the BJP‘s efforts in the Northeast. Similarly, Nanaji Deshmukh, a crucial figure in building the Jana Sangh, received recognition for his contributions to education, health, and rural self-reliance.

 Contrasting Choices Under Previous Governments

Comparing these choices with those made under previous governments reveals distinct patterns. Congress governments tended to follow conventional norms, honoring sitting Prime Ministers and iconic figures. In contrast, the BJP-led government’s selections often had ideological and strategic undertones.

As Bharat Ratna continues to be a symbol of national honor, the Modi government’s nominations underscore its nuanced approach, combining recognition of individual merit with a strategic alignment of political narratives. The unfolding chessboard of Bharat Ratna choices provides a fascinating glimpse into the government’s ideological and political maneuvering.