HT This Day: Dec 24, 1998 - JP awarded Bharat Ratna posthumously

Published on Dec 23, 2021 07:42 PM IST

Veteran Freedom fighter and socialist leader Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan has been posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian honour

A screen grab of the Hindustan Times on December 24, 1998 (HT Archive)
A screen grab of the Hindustan Times on December 24, 1998 (HT Archive)
ByHT Correspondent, New Delhi

Veteran Freedom fighter and socialist leader Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan has been posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian honour.

The BJP-led Governments decision to confer the award on the Sarvodaya leader was communicated by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to President K.R. Narayanan last evening.

The surprise announcement came through a two-line Press communique issued by Rashtrapati Bhavan today (December 23). He is the 35th recipient of this award.

A leading light of the Quit India Movement of 1942 against the British rule, ‘JP’ came to be known better for his nationwide movement against corruption in public life and excesses during Emergency.

When Mrs. Indira Gandhi decided to revoke the Emergency and hold general elections in 1977, JP was instrumental in bringing opposition parties together. The Janata Party, under whose banner they fought the elections inflicted a crushing defeat on the Congress.

He may have played a pioneering role in providing the country its first non-Congress Government, but JP declined to accept any public post. In the 1950s, many had regarded him a possible successor to Jawaharlal Nehru, but he counted himself out of any position of power.

He had voluntarily retired from active politics towards the end of the sixties and devoted himself to Bhoodan Movement, launched by Acharya Vinoba Bhave.

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