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'I would reject Bharat Ratna even if offered'

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray says he would reject Bharat Ratna even if the award was ever offered to him.

india Updated: Jan 21, 2008 15:56 IST

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on Monday said he would reject Bharat Ratna even if the award was ever offered to him.

In an interview to party mouthpiece Samana, Thackeray said politicians have taken the sheen out of the country's highest civilian award by recommending names of people who "do not deserve" it.

"I don't know what is happening to this Bharat Ratna. This award has been cheapened so much that it has lost its sheen. I will never accept it. Of course, this is bound to generate questions as to who is going to give me. But nevertheless I am clear that I will never accept it".

He said "I don't have even an iota of attraction for it. I fail to understand why some people are craving for it."

Asked to comment on the clamour for the award among the politicians, Thackeray said, "this is very cheap. I don't know why are you asking this question. I know I am not going to get it nor do I crave for it", he said, adding there is none now in the country who was worth the award.

The battle for Bharat Ratna intensified after starting with BJP leader L K Advani suggesting former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's name for the honour, which was followed by names of Marxist veteran Jyoti Basu, BSP founder Kanshi Ram being suggested for the award.