Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s relatives in his hometown Gwalior and Bharatiya Janata Party workers across Madhya Pradesh celebrated after he was conferred Bharat Ratna by President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday.
Although some of his relatives, including Vajpayee’s nephew, Anoop Mishra, an MP, already left for New Delhi to be with him when he receives the biggest civilian honour of the country, his niece Kanti Mishra and others stayed in Gwalior.
Kanti, 65, lives in Kamal Singh ka Bagh locality and her house is adjacent to Vajpayee’s ancestral house. “I couldn’t go to Delhi because of Navratri. We cannot leave the religious festival midway,” said Kanti.
She further said there was a swarm of visitors, including mediapersons, at her house since Friday morning and was “elated” to know that Vajpayee received the award.
"I would have been happier if Atalji had been in a position to say something on this great moment. Now, he cannot speak. He just sees," said Kanti.
She said it was the generosity of the President that he himself went to the house of the 90-year-old former PM's bungalow to confer the award on him. In the state capital, party workers burst firecrackers, distributed sweets and beat drums at the state BJP office.
State BJP president Nandkumar Singh Chauhan and general secretary (organization) Arvind Menon thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for recommending the Vajpayee's name for the Bharat Ratna.
They also thanked the President for visiting the former the veteran leader’s residence to confer the award on him.