Former President Pranab Mukherjee has accepted the honour of Bharat Ratna, conferred on him by the Narendra Modi government on the eve of the Republic Day.
"It is with a deep sense of humility and gratitude to the people of India that I accept this great honour #BharatRatna bestowed upon me. I have always said and I repeat, that I have got more from the people of our great country than I have given to them," the former President tweeted late on evening on Friday.
Earlier in the evening, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced through Twitter that he was "delighted that Mukherjee "has been conferred the Bharat Ratna."
India's top civilian honour has also been conferred posthumously upon Assamese poet Bhupen Hazarika, who died in 2011, and Nanaji Deshmukh, the trailblazer social activist who passed away in 2010. Deshmukh had also been a Bharatiya Jana Sangh ideologue.
Rahul congratulates Pranab
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi congratulated Mukherjee on being awarded the Bharat Ratna and also expressed his happiness over Deshmukh and Hazarika also being given India’s highest civilian award.
"Congratulations to Pranab Da on being awarded the Bharat Ratna!
"The Congress Party takes great pride in the fact that the immense contribution to public service and nation building of one of our own has been recognised and honoured," tweeted Gandhi.
"I am happy that Shri Bhupen Hazarika and Nanaji Deshmukh have been honoured, posthumously, with the Bharat Ratna," he added.
(with IANS inputs)
(The article was last updated at 10:38 PM).