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Bharat Ratna awarded to 5, Including former PMs, Highest tally in a single year

This year's five Bharat Ratna awards surpass the four awarded in 1999, marking the highest number of Bharat Ratna awarded in a single year

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced today that former Prime Ministers PV Narasimha Rao and Chaudhary Charan Singh, alongside agricultural scientist MS Swaminathan, will be conferred with the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour. This year’s five Bharat Ratna awards surpass the four awarded in 1999, marking the highest number of Bharat Ratnas awarded in a single year.

Expressing his delight, Prime Minister Modi shared his sentiments on social media, highlighting the exceptional contributions of each recipient. He praised Narasimha Rao’s visionary leadership, emphasizing his instrumental role in driving India towards economic progress and prosperity.


Similarly, Charan Singh’s unwavering dedication to the welfare of farmers and his steadfast commitment to democracy during challenging times were commended by the Prime Minister. Singh’s pivotal role in nation-building, coupled with his resilience against the Emergency, continues to inspire the nation.

Dr. MS Swaminathan’s outstanding contributions to agriculture and farmers’ welfare were also acknowledged, with Prime Minister Modi highlighting his role in achieving self-reliance in agriculture and ensuring food security for the nation. Dr. Swaminathan’s visionary leadership and mentorship have left an indelible mark on Indian agriculture, shaping its trajectory towards modernization and prosperity.

This announcement adds to the prestigious list of recipients of the Bharat Ratna, with BJP veteran LK Advani and former Bihar Chief Minister Karpoori Thakur previously honoured by the government.

Among the recipients, four will receive the honour posthumously, while Advani, aged 96, is the sole living recipient.


The list of Bharat Ratna awardees for 2024 includes:

  1. Karpoori Thakur (Posthumous): Karpoori Thakur, a well-known socialist leader from Bihar and former chief minister of the state, will be posthumously honoured with India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna. Fondly referred to as ‘Jan Nayak’ (people’s leader), Thakur will become the 49th recipient of this prestigious award.
  2. Lal Krishna Advani: Advani has held the position of president of the Bharatiya Janata Party for the longest duration since its establishment in 1980. Over nearly three decades in parliament, he served as both the home minister and deputy Prime Minister under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee from 1999 to 2004. On February 3, PM Modi disclosed that Advani would be bestowed with India’s highest civilian honour.
  3. Pamulaparthi Venkata Narasimha Rao (Posthumous): In honouring Rao, who passed away in 2004, PM Modi expressed admiration for his multifaceted service to the nation as a revered scholar and statesman. Modi highlighted Rao’s notable contributions not only as the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh but also as a Union minister and longstanding legislator in both the Parliament and the state assembly. Rao, a respected Telugu leader, served a full five-year term as prime minister from 1991 to 1996 and is widely lauded for his pivotal role in introducing economic reforms.
  4. Chaudhary Charan Singh (Posthumous): Singh, a prominent Jat leader hailing from western Uttar Pradesh, served as prime minister during 1979-80 and played a pivotal role in spearheading anti-Congress politics during an era when the party held dominant influence. Modi expressed gratitude for the opportunity to honour Singh with the Bharat Ratna, attributing it to his unparalleled contributions to the nation.
  5. Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan (Posthumous): Modi expressed immense delight in his government’s decision to bestow the Bharat Ratna upon Swaminathan, acknowledging his significant contributions to agriculture and the welfare of farmers. Modi praised Swaminathan’s visionary guidance, which revolutionised Indian agriculture, ensuring both food security and prosperity for the nation. Modi emphasised his close relationship with Swaminathan, valuing his wisdom and contributions. The renowned agronomist passed away last year.

The Bharat Ratna, instituted in 1954, is awarded in recognition of exceptional service or performance of the highest order without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex. The receivers of this honour join a distinguished list of individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the nation’s progress and welfare.

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