By Bappaditya Paul
Kolkata: Even after the lapse of several hours since Rashtrapati Bhavan announced awarding Bharat Ratna to Pranab Mukherjee, aka Pranab-da, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has not spared a word on this as yet.
This is even as Banerjee, nowadays, stays active on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter and, forthwith offers comment on important issues and events in the country.
Rashtrapati Bhavan announced at 8.20 pm on Friday that apart from former President Pranab Mukherjee, late singer Bhupen Hazarika and RSS social activist Nanaji Deshmukh have been awarded the Bharat Ratna posthumously.
Not only that the Bengal CM and Trinamool supremo has so far maintained a studied silence on a Bengali veteran being awarded the country’s highest civilian award, but her party has also even said that there is political calculation behind the selection.
“Definitely there is a political motive behind this. Why else personalities from Bengal and Assam been given Bharat Ratna this time? If people find a political consideration in this, it cannot be outright rejected,” Trinamool secretary general, Partha Chatterjee told Bengali TV channel 24 Ghanta tonight.
It is no secret that it is at the Union Cabinet’s recommendation that Rashtrapati Bhavan awards honour like Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, etc.
Trinamool’s reaction notwithstanding, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and, Congress President Rahul Gandhi have congratulated Mukherjee on being bestowed the Bharat Ratna.
“Pranab Da is an outstanding statesman of our times. He has served the nation selflessly and tirelessly for decades, leaving a strong imprint on the nation’s growth trajectory. His wisdom and intellect have few parallels. Delighted that he has been conferred the Bharat Ratna,” the PM tweeted.
In his tweet, Rahul Gandhi stated: “Congratulations to Pranab Da on being awarded the Bharat Ratna! The Congress Party takes great pride in the fact that the immense contribution to public service & nation building of one of our own, has been recognised & honoured.”
Pranab Mukherjee, on the other hand, has thanked the people of the country for the honour.
“It is with a deep sense of humility and gratitude to the people of India that I accept this great honour #BharatRatna bestowed upon me. I have always said and I repeat, that I have got more from the people of our great country than I have given to them.#CitizenMukherjee,” he has tweeted.
Born at Kirnahar in Birbhum district of Bengal, Mukherjee had been the foreign minister and finance minister at the Centre. He was elected the first Bengali President of India in 2012 and served in the position till 2017.