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Give Bharat Ratna to Kanshi Ram: Maya

In a letter to the PM, the UP chief minister says the BSP founder had created awakening among the Dalits.

india Updated: Jan 12, 2008 19:07 IST

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has demanded that her mentor and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) founder Kanshi Ram should be honoured with Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian award.

In a letter sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday afternoon, Mayawati has drawn his attention to late Kanshi Ram's contribution in creating the awakening among Dalits and other marginalized sections of society.

"Kanshi Ram also did a yeoman service in breaking the barriers between different lower castes so that these could unite themselves into a meaningful political force and assert their rights," she noted.

The move was being seen as yet another salvo from Mayawati on the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, with which she has been engaged in a tug-of-war over various political issues since she assumed office in May 2007.

Her demand comes a few days after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani wrote to Manmohan Singh, proposing former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's name for the top honour.