This Article is From Aug 10, 2014

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's Stature Bigger Than Bharat Ratna, Says Grandnephew Sugata Bose

Archival photo of Subhash Chandra Bose

New Delhi: Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's grandnephew Sugata Bose has criticised the reports that the freedom fighter's name is being considered by the Narendra Modi government for Bharat Ratna, country's highest civilian honour.

"Keep Netaji out of partisan politics, his stature is bigger than Bharat Ratna. How can Netaji be given Bharat Ratna after Rajiv Gandhi? Anyone with a sense of history will agree with me," he told NDTV.

"Mr Vajpayee had a sense of history and he never put forward Netaji's name," added Mr Bose, who is also Netaji's biographer.

Though the government has not officially announced it, sources say that several names are under consideration for the nation's most prestigious award. Apart from Netaji, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, founder of the Benaras Hindu University Madan Mohan Malviya, Dalit leader and founder of Bahujan Samaj Party Kanshi Ram and legendary hockey player Dhyanchand, who was overlooked by the previous UPA government for cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, are among them.

The BJP has long demanded that the Bharat Ratna be conferred on Mr Vajpayee, who had led the first NDA government at the Centre between 1998 and 2004.

Mr Vajpayee's family is rejoicing at the reports.

"Atal Bihari Vajpayee is not only a leader. He has a place in heart of Indian people," said Mr Vajpayee's niece Karuna Shukla.

The Opposition is, however, cautiously reacting to these reports. "Let the government decide first. All the names are such that none is objectionable," said CPI leader D Raja.

The Home Ministry has asked the Reserve Bank of India to keep five Bharat Ratna medallions ready, said sources, adding that the number of medallions may not necessarily be the same as the number of recipients. The official announcement could possibly be made before Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivers his first Independence Day speech.