LK Advani to be conferred Bharat Ratna
India's former deputy prime minister and BJP patriarch Lal Krishna Advani, who had led the party's Ram temple movement in 1990 that marked the party's political ascendancy, will be conferred "Bharat Ratna," the country's highest civilian honour.
Announcing the award for Advani, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to X, formerly Twitter, to say "I am very happy to share that Shri LK Advani Ji will be conferred the Bharat Ratna. I also spoke to him and congratulated him on being conferred this honour."
Modi described nonagenarian Advani as "one of the most respected statesmen of our times, his contribution to the development of India is monumental. His is a life that started from working at the grassroots to serving the nation as our Deputy Prime Minister. He distinguished himself as our Home Minister and I&B (Information and Broadcasting) Minister as well. His Parliamentary interventions have always been exemplary, full of rich insights."
During his long political career, Advani, once a poster boy of hardline Hindutva, had held several key posts in the BJP and the party-led federal government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Advani had led a cross-country bus journey campaigning in 1990 for the construction of a Ram temple at the site in Ayodhya believed to be the birthplace of Lord Ram. On the site stood the Babri Mosque built in the 17th century which was demolished on December 6, 1996.
Advani's 1990 bus journey sparked communal tensions. He was arrested in the then undivided state of Bihar where Lalu Prasad Yadav (now an opposition leader), was the then chief minister.
BJP's temple movement was seen as a counter to a move by other political parties to consolidate their caste-based politics to checkmate the saffron party's bid to unite Hindus cutting across castes.