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Former PM and veteran BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee honoured with Bharat Ratna
Former Indian Prime Minister and veteran BJP leader, Atal Bihari Vajpayee has been conferred country's highest civilian honor, Bharat Ratna today. President Pranab Mukherjee honored Vajapayee with the Bharat Ratna at his residence while breaking the protocol of organising the award function at President's House. This was done in the wake of former PM's ill-health.

On this occasion Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, foreign affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, BJP veteran LK Advani, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and many other prominent faces from the government and BJP were present.

In a statement to the media after the Bharat Ratna award was conferred to Vajpayee, Prime Minister Modi expressed his gratitudes towards President Pranab Mukherjee for coming to Vajpayee's residence to confer him Bharat Ratna.

Modi said that former PM Vajpayee's life was dedicated to the nation. He spent every second of his life in thinking and working for the nation. He said Vajpayee is an inspiration for him. 

"In India there are corers of workers like me for whom Vajpayee ji is an inspiration. For the coming generations also, Vajpayee ji will be an inspiration. I pray to god that the life of Bharat Ratna recipient Atal Bihari Vajpayee continue to inspire us, guide us."

Prime Minister Modi has also termed it as a historic day for crores of Indians like him.

Senior Congress leader Rashid Alvi congratulated Vajpayee for the Bharat Ratna award. Alvi said, "I congratulate Atal ji and I pray for his long life."

BJP's National Spokesperson MJ Akbar BJP said, "Its a long overdue, he is a great statesmen of the century. A man who had tremendous relation, a man who had the peace within the country and the peace of the region as one of the great motives of his public life also very gentle and generous and an extraordinary human being."

NDA-led government had announced Bharat Ratna award to Vajpayee and freedom fighter Madan Mohan Malaviya on 24 December 2014. The announcement was done just a day before the 90th birthday of the veteran BJP leader.

Vajpayee had served three terms as prime minster of India. BJP was demanding Bharat Ratna for him from a very long time, but it could only happen when BJP came into power at Centre.

Vajpayee will be the seventh prime minister to receive the award, after Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Morarji Desai, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Gulzarilal Nanda.

Bharat Ratna to late Madan Mohan Malaviya, the freedom icon, educationist and the founder of The Banaras Hindu University, who is also popularly known as 'Mahamana', will be given on March 30 at Rashtrapati Bhavan along with the Civil Investiture Ceremony for the Padma Awards.

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