An Alliance, a Legacy & Elections: The politics behind Bharat Ratnas

An Alliance, a Legacy & Elections: The politics behind Bharat Ratnas

Feb 9, 2024 - 23:30
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An Alliance, a Legacy & Elections: The politics behind Bharat Ratnas

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s big announcement on Friday about conferring the Bharat Ratna to former prime ministers PV Narasimha Rao and Chaudhary Charan Singh and agriculture scientist MS Swaminathan can be perceived as BJP’s big push in southern India and Western Uttar Pradesh ahead of Lok Sabha elections.

PM Modi’s announcement about the nation’s highest honor being awarded to the erstwhile politicians drew support from leaders across the country, with most supporting the move.

Charan Singh served as India’s fifth prime minister from 1979 to 1980. Hailing from Noorpur in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut, Singh has also served as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and the Home Minister of India.

“Be it the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh or the Home Minister of the country and even as an MLA, he always gave impetus to nation building. He also stood firm against the Emergency. His dedication to our farmer brothers and sisters and his commitment to democracy during the Emergency is inspiring to the entire nation,” PM Modi said.

The ninth prime minister of India, PV Narasimha Rao has been credited for heralding important economic reforms in the country.

Charan Singh-Western UP link

Charan Singh has been awarded the Bharat Ratna at a time when his grandson Jayant Singh’s party, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) has forged an alliance with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Jayant Singh was one of the first politicians to react to PM Modi’s announcement when he said, “Dil Jeet Liya.”

Following the announcement, Singh said, “It is a big day & an emotional moment for me. I want to thank the President, government & PM Modi because this was part of his vision…Three awards have been given. The sentiments of the people are connected with this decision…”

According to News18, as per the seat-sharing agreement between the two parties, RLD will be contesting on two seats – Baghpat and Bijnor.

When asked if they would join hands with BJP-led NDA, Singh said, “Koi kasar rehti hai? Aaj main kis muh se inkaar karoon aapke sawalon ko. (How can I say no?).”

Jayant Singh’s strong base in Western UP is likely to work in the BJP’s favour in the upcoming polls.

BJP eyes Southern India

Similarly, the government’s decision to honour Indian National Congress’ PV Narasimha Rao coincides with BJP’s efforts to grow its footprint in southern India.

Rao hails from Telangana’s Karimnagar.

Speculations of a possible alliance between the NDA and the Telegu Dasam Party (TDP) have been afloat for quite some time.

TDP Chief N Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday flew to New Delhi to meet Home Minister Amit Shah.

At the same time, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy met Modi earlier today.

However, it remains unclear whether the saffron party will ally with TDP.

The saffron party has also been trying to make a base in Tamil Nadu. The government has also announced to honour Agricultural Scientist MS Swaminathan with the Bharat Ratna. Swaminathan, popularly known as the ‘Father of the Green Revolution,’ hails from Tamil Nadu’s Kumbakonam.

Recently, a number of leaders from AIADMK joined the BJP in the presence of Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai.

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