Congress leader and former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat has demanded that the Narendra Modi government bestow the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, upon Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati.
Rawat took to Twitter to say that both the leaders are strong political personalities and deserving of the Bharat Ratna, adding that while the Congress president has taken the honour of Indian womanhood to new heights, the BSP chief had inspired millions of oppressed.
‘Both Sonia Gandhi and Mayawati are strong political personalities. You can agree and disagree with their politics, but you cannot deny the fact that Sonia-ji has made an Indian woman. It has given a new height and dignity to the standards of dignity and social dedication and public service, today she is considered as a glorious form of femininity of India. The Government of India should embellish these two personalities by giving this year's Bharat Ratna,’ Rawat wrote on Twitter, tagging Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He also tagged the Congress party, Mayawati, and Rahul Gandhi in his tweet. Several Congress leaders were surprised over this demand and its timing.
Rawat's demand to present Bharat Ratna to Sonia is understandable as it is seen as an effort to endear himself to the Congress leadership.
However, as ANI said in a report, demanding the Bharat Ratna for Mayawati has caused confusion and raised many eyebrows, especially because in Uttar Pradesh, Priyanka Gandhi is trying to attack Mayawati. She even accused Mayawati of being the ‘undisclosed spokesperson’ of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
However, he later told the PTI that he had expressed his views in his personal capacity as a citizen of the country and not as a political leader.
'The way she (Gandhi) adopted Indian womanhood is an example. When the government was formed, she worked for providing so many rights to people from right to work to right to information. The way she has adhered to culture, family values and social obligations, it enhanced the honour of Indian womanhood,' Rawat was quoted by PTI as saying.
The BSP leadership termed Rawat’s demand as a ‘tactic to befool public’, reported Hindustan Times.
Nitish chuckles over demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Sonia
Meanwhile, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday chuckled over the demand for conferring Bharat Ratna on Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the PTI said.
Nitish Kumar remarked that the Congress could have done the needful while the UPA ruled the country for two consecutive terms.
'All have the right to raise any type of demand', he said with a barely suppressed laugh when asked about the suggestion made by Congress leader Harish Rawat that Sonia Gandhi, besides BSP supremo Mayawati, be considered for the highest civilian honour.
'I wonder why they did not do the needful when they were in power. No need for raising such a demand would have remained in that case, Kumar quipped.
With inputs from ANI, PTI