A prominent socialist leader and former Bihar chief minister, Karpoori Thakur, will be awarded the highest civilian award in the country, ‘Bharat Ratna.’ Along with him, 49 other people have been granted the Bharat Ratna award, including 17 posthumously.
Thakur was dubbed the Jan Nayak despite serving for a short while. He served as the Bihar CM from December 1970 to June 1971 and from December 1977 to April 1979. The award was presented 35 years after he passed away on February 17, 1988.
Bihar’s chief minister, Nitish Kumar, and his party, JDU, have long demanded the award from the Centre for the state’s first non-Congress Chief Minister. Kumar stated, “This highest honour to the late Karpoori Thakur ji on his 100th birth anniversary will create positive sentiments among the Dalit, deprived, and neglected sections.”
Upon the award being given posthumously, it is seen as a BJP masterstroke ahead of the general election as Thakur belonged to OBC and BJP aims to gain allegiance of this group as they are still loyal to Nitish Kumar. Bihar has forty parliamentary seats and it is yet to be seen how this move will impact the upcoming elections.