Vajpayee's long-time political colleague L K Advani said he was happy with the government decision to bestow the highest civilian award to the former Prime Minister. "I am very happy that Government has decided to honour Atal ji with Bharat Ratna."

JD(U) leader and former Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar congratulated Vajpayee and said the UPA government should have conferred the award on the former Prime Minister.

"Atal ji's contribution to the country will always be remembered. I congratulate him. We also wanted Bharat Ratna for Atal ji. The UPA government should have given this award to him," Kumar said.

Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, who is also a Bharat Ratna recipient, said he was "absolutely delighted" to get the news.

"I think he deserves to be honoured in every possible way because in many ways he was a very great statesman of the country and one doesn't have to agree with every bit of his policy to appreciate the human quality that was behind his Prime Ministerial leadership," he said.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi too welcomed the decision.

"Very happy to know that Bharat Ratna is being conferred on Vajpayee and Malviya ji. Everyone knows Malviya ji was a freedom fighter and an educationist. When Vajpayee was the PM, even if he was in a different party he helped me. I am also personally grateful to him," Gogoi said.

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar termed it as the "best decision" of the government and expressed happiness over the recognition to Vajpayee as well as to Malviya.

"Today, we are very happy as Bharat Ratna is being conferred on Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Madan Mohan Malviya. This is the best decision taken by Narendra Modi and his Cabinet," Javadekar said.

Union Minister Harsh Vardhan said, "Atal ji has already been a 'Bharat Ratna' for us. People respect and love him. The announcement of the award is just a formality."

JD(U) President Sharad Yadav also hailed the decision saying, "I am very pleased with this announcement. Malviya had a great role in Indian independence and he established a great institution like Benaras Hindu University. I have been associated with Atal ji for many years and even being in BJP he respected the composite culture of India."

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also welcomed the Centre's decision.

"Atalji is a living legend. He is not only a leader but a statesman...I think he is recognised as a great leader of Modern India worldwide. I think the whole world will welcome this move," Fadnavis said.

Justice Giridhar Malaviya, grandson of Madan Mohan Malviya, said both Vajpayee and Malviya are respected by all sections. "I congratulate Modi who was the first person to go to Varanasi and garland the statue of Malviya ji."

Asked whether UPA should have taken such a decision, he said, "They would have also done this and it was really due. These are the two persons who were absolutely controversy-less. They were respected by all in the country."

 

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