Some well meaning friends have raised the issue regarding award of Bharat Ratna to Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji.
As a much younger colleague, I have had an opportunity to work with Shri Vajpayee both in the Party and in the Government. Unquestionably, he is one of the tallest politicians of his generation. He was a parliamentarian par excellence. He was a public speaker whom millions waited for hours to hear. People still recollect his style of oratory. As an Opposition leader , he never lost the national vision even while attacking the government. Every word he spoke reflected the Statesman in him.
As a Prime Minister, he was a democrat to the core. The Cabinet meetings he presided discussed each issue at length. After weighing the merits of alternative viewpoints, he nodded in favour of one and the whole Cabinet instantly accepted his view. His Government is remembered for its’ emphasis on infrastructure creation, economic management of the country, its’ approach on issues of national security and a new look foreign policy that he advocated. He had a spotless public life for over five decades. Even though age and health have prevented him from active politics in the last few years, he is still remembered as one of the most popular Prime Minister India has ever had. Can a national award or honour add anything more to his stature and credibility? His well meaning friends and admirers would be well advised to keep him out of any awards controversy. His stature is far taller than any award.