Congress leader Janardhan Dwivedi has said the Bharat Ratna should be conferred within a year of the person's death.
After the BSP charged the NDA government with discriminating against Dalit icons in awarding Bharat Ratna, Congress today suggested that the country's highest civilian honour should be given to any departed leader within one year of his/her demise to avoid any controversy.
"In my view, if Bharat Ratna is being awarded to a leader posthumously it should be done within a year. Otherwise, the selection will keep on creating difficulties as there is a number of stalwarts in politics, arts and culture belonging to every state. Hence questions will be raised on every selection and we in a way end up insulting the awardees instead of honouring them," AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said in Delhi.
"There is a need for a re-think on the process of conferring the Bharat Ratna posthumously and it should be systematised. A decision can be taken that whoever has to be honoured posthumously is given the reward within one year of his or her death," he said.
He, however, said that there should be no dispute over conferring the award on Madan Mohan Malaviya, the founder of Benares Hindu University.
Mr Dwivedi hailed BSP founder Kanshi Ram as a "stalwart" who brought significant changes in the social and political milieu, and asked BSP chief Mayawati to take up with the government the issue of not conferring the honour on him while it was recently given to Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Mr Malaviya.
The Congress's reaction came soon after Ms Mayawati charged the NDA government with discriminating against Dalit icons like Kanshi Ram while awarding Bharat Ratna to Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Madan Mohan Malviya.
"Just like the previous Congress-led UPA government, the NDA government is adopting the same discriminatory attitude while honouring two persons of the same caste - Vajpayee and Malviya - with the Bharat Ratna recently," she said in Lucknow.
"Kanshi Ram should have been honoured keeping in mind his sacrifices and contribution. Similarly, Jyotiba Phule, who belonged to a backward caste, should have been given the award for his work in the field of education and efforts to establish equality in society," she said.