Bharat Ratna for five including Narasimha Rao, Charan Singh and MS Swaminathan

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced that a total of five people including former prime ministers PV Narasimha Rao and Chaudhary Charan Singh and agricultural scientist MS Swaminathan will be conferred Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award. The government has already announced that the award would be conferred on veteran BJP leader LK Advani and former Bihar chief minister Karpoori Thakur.

Usually, three Bharat Ratna awards are given in a year, however, this year, the government has named five people for Bharat Ratna, with a predominant southern connect ahead of the general election slated later this year.

After the late President Pranab Mukherjee, Narasimha Rao is the second prominent member of the Congress to receive this highest honour while giving Charan Singh and Swaminathan the Bharat Ratna is a significant step towards showing support for the leaders who drove Indian agriculture and the cause of Indian farmers.

Rao served as the prime minister from June 21, 1991, to May 16, 1996 and hailed from Andhra Pradesh's Karimnagar and studied at Osmania University in Hyderabad, Bombay University, and Nagpur University. 

Born in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut in 1902, Charan Singh served as the prime minister from July 28, 1979 to January 14, 1980. He was first elected to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly in 1937 from Chhaprauli. He represented the constituency in 1946, 1952, 1962 and 1967.

Born in 1925, MS Swaminathan obtained a BSc degree in Zoology from the Maharajas College in Thiruvananthapuram, and also in Agricultural Sciences from the Coimbatore Agricultural College. He is known as the father of the Green Revolution in India.

The prizes given to Singh and Swaminathan signify that farmers are prioritised, especially at a time when farmers are getting ready to reorganise for a planned protest in the capital on February 13 to seek, among other things, the legalisation of MSP.


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