The two parties, erstwhile partners in governing Bihar, have been political rivals for the past few months since parting company but state JD-U president Bashisht Narain Singh said his party also demanded the Bharat Ratna for Vajpayee.

"We also support the demand for Bharat Ratna to Vajpayee," Singh told media persons in Patna.

According to Singh, the JD-U would be happy if Vajpayee was given the country's highest award for his rare contribution.

BJP senior leader Ravi Shankar Prasad has demanded that Vajpayee be awarded the Bharat Ratna.

After Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar dumped the BJP in the state in June 2013 and the JD-U ended its 17-year-old alliance with the saffron party over the elevation of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to the prime ministerial candidate of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), leaders of the two parties have been missing no chance to attack, embarrass and humiliate each other.

JD-U was part of the NDA government led by Vajpayee till 2004, and current JD-U president Sharad Yadav and Nitish Kumar were cabinet ministers, enjoying a close relationship with Vajpayee as well as BJP veteran LK Advani.

(Agencies)

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