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There are many ratnas, all of them should be honoured: BJP
January 15, 2008 18:40 IST
"There are many gems in India and we would like to see all of them honoured". This is the latest from the Bharatiya Janata Party, which triggered a race for the Bharat Ratna by suggesting senior leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee's name for the highest civilian honour last week.
BJP leader L K Advani wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week recommending that the award be given to Vajpayee.
The demand was followed by similar requests from several other political parties, who also pitched in with names of their leaders. Apparently in a fix after these developments, the BJP has lately refrained from talking about the issue.
Senior leader Sushma Swaraj, however, tried to salvage the situation for the party by saying: "Bharat mata ka ek ratna nahin hain, kai ratna hain. Ham to chahte hain har kisi ko samman mile."
When queried if it was Advani's personal initiative to recommend Vajpayee's name, she said the party was unanimous about the demand.
Talking to reporters after the party's Central Election Management Committee meeting, Swaraj criticised Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi for his sarcastic comments on Vajpayee's name being recommended for the award.
"It is unfair and unbecoming of a minister to say that. He should realise that he is a minister not only for Information and Broadcasting but also for Parliamentary Affairs," the Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha said, reacting to Dasmunsi's comment that it would have been better if Vajpayee had been honoured within the party.