Messages, memes and new names for Bharat Ratna flood social media

While political parties rush to congratulate the recipients and PM for conferring the award, social media is awash with reactions

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge (photo: @INCIndia/X)
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge (photo: @INCIndia/X)

A.J. Prabal

Now that the Prime Minister, who does not need anyone’s recommendation or approval to confer the Bharat Ratna, has added three more names to the list of recipients, taking the number to five in place of the traditional ceiling of three, this year, what prevents him from adding to the list?

In January the Bharat Ratna was conferred on former Bihar chief minister Karpoori Thakur and days later on former Home minister L.K. Advani.

Hours after the announcement of the new recipients, former Prime Ministers Chaudhary Charan Singh, P.V. Narasimha Rao and agriculture scientist Dr M.S. Swaminathan on Friday afternoon, social media erupted with congratulatory messages. Political parties and political leaders from Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge to Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav were quick to welcome the announcement and recalled the recipients’ contributions to the country.

The names of Periyar, Annadurai Dhyanchand, Kanshiram, BP Mandal, Jaipal Singh Munda, VP Singh and Ram Vilas Paswan were quickly suggested among others as other deserving recipients. Some berated Congress for not knowing how to manage politics, elections and different communities and castes; others questioned the government’s apparent reluctance to honour legal guarantee for Minimum Support Prices based on the formula suggested by Dr Swaminathan.

The absence of a single woman in the list drew sharp comments. The absence of a single member of the minority community was also notices. Names of former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and legendary singer Md Rafi were also cited as worthy recipients.

Political commentators appeared unanimous in applauding the Prime Minister’s political foresight and political understanding in an election year. The timing of the announcement, ahead of the farmers’ planned renewal of agitation demanding legal guarantee of MSP and impending elections in Andhra Pradesh, was cited as further evidence of PM and BJP’s unmatched headline management.

BJP baiters were more cynical, wondering how the announcement reflects on BJP and the PM.

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