The CPI (M) on Saturday put cold water on suggestions for Bharat Ratna to veteran Marxist Jyoti Basu, saying the party does not accept state awards.
"It is not a practice of our leaders to accept state awards," CPI (M) sources said here when asked for comments on reports suggesting Basu's name for the top civilian award.
The sources said that during the tenure of PV Narasimha Rao as the Prime Minister, the government had offered Padma Vibhushan to former CPI (M) General Secretary and veteran freedom fighter EMS Namoodiripad.
The party had turned down the offer even at that time, they said, adding that it has never been the practice to formally ask for such awards.
The name of the Marxist leader cropped up after senior BJP leader LK Advani wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recommending that former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee be given Bharat Ratna.
"When the name of Atal Bihari Vajpayee came up for Bharat Ratna, there is nothing wrong in the name of Jyoti Basu. He is also a great leader of the country", senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily said on Friday.
RJD chief and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad also supported the nomination of Basu, who holds the record of India's longest serving Chief Minister. Basu headed the Left Front government in West Bengal from 1977 till 2000.
As the controversy continued, the name of DMK supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi has also come up. BSP supremo Mayawati has also demanded Bharat Ratna for party founder Kanshiram.