PM Says "Honour To Witness" Pranab Mukherjee Award As Gandhis Stay Away

"Dear Pranab Mukherjee, It was an honour to witness you receiving the Bharat Ratna, a fitting recognition of everything that you have done for the nation. Thank you for leaving no stone unturned towards making India more developed," PM Narendra Modi wrote in a tweet posted at 8.34 am.

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PM Says 'Honour To Witness' Pranab Mukherjee Award As Gandhis Stay Away

After the BJP came to power, Pranab Mukherjee shared a good rapport with PM Narendra Modi (File Photo)


New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Pranab Mukherjee received the Bharat Ratna on Thursday
  2. Congress's top leaders, the Gandhis skipped the function
  3. Mr Mukherjee was one of the most senior ministers in the UPA government

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted on Friday he felt "honoured" to have witnessed former president Pranab Mukherjee receiving the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday. The post was significant after Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi skipped the function on Thursday evening.

"Dear Pranab Mukherjee, It was an honour to witness you receiving the Bharat Ratna, a fitting recognition of everything that you have done for the nation. Thank you for leaving no stone unturned towards making India more developed," PM Modi wrote in a tweet posted at 8.34 am.

On Thursday, Pranab Mukherjee also put out a post expressing gratitude.

"My heartfelt gratitude to Rashtrapatiji and the people of our nation for bestowing the Bharat Ratna on me. This honour is more for the people of our country from whom I have received much more than I have been able to give."

"The Bharat Ratna for me is also indeed an acknowledgement of the millions who strive every day to make Bharat - the diverse, plural, compassionate and inclusive idea that it is," Mr Mukherjee tweeted.

At the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the applause lasted for several moments as the former President received the Bharat Ratna from his successor.

Besides PM Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP veteran LK Advani and several ministers attended the event.

The Congress's top leaders, the Gandhis and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were conspicuously missing.

According to news agency ANI, Rahul Gandhi was invited to the function by Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The Congress was represented by leaders like Anand Sharma, Ahmed Patel, Bhupender Singh Hooda, Janardhan Dwivedi and Shashi Tharoor.

Pranab Mukherjee, a lifelong Congress man, was one of the most senior ministers in the UPA government before he was nominated as President of India.

After the BJP came to power, Mr Mukherjee shared a good rapport with PM Modi, who has often expressed his admiration for the veteran politician.

Last year, Mr Mukherjee's decision to attend an event of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in June last year, months after exiting the President's post, rattled many in the Congress and was seen as a huge insult to his former party, given its stand on the BJP's ideological mentor.

Mr Mukherjee refused to bow down to Congress pressure to opt out of the event and used the forum to make a strong statement on tolerance and pluralism.

In January, the government named Mr Mukherjee among three Bharat Ratna winners, in what was seen as a politically loaded move just before the national election.

The ruling BJP has criticized the Gandhis.

"We don't understand what has happened to the Congress party. Till now, we can't understand this. Today, Pranab da is not considered the leader of a particular party but of the nation. We don't understand why they did not attend the event," said Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

Amit Malviya, the head of the BJP's IT cell, tweeted: "Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi didn't attend the ceremony that awarded Bharat Ratna, among others, to long time Congressman and former President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee. Guess why?"



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