New Delhi [India] : Lashing out at the opposition for questioning the timing of the announcement of Bharat Ratna ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Chief Jayant Chaudhary said if the ruling government wants to honour someone, "what is wrong?"
Lashing out at the opposition for questioning the 'timing' for announcing the award, he said, "Are they (the opposition) claiming that the government should not be awarding Bharat Ratna to anyone during the election year?"
"On what basis did the ruling government or political parties take the decisions with regards to Bharat Ratna?" It is where a political party will get the maximum political mileage and issues on which the emotions of the public are connected," he asked.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Friday that former PMs Chaudhary Charan Singh and PV Narasimha Rao will be conferred the Bharat Ratna, and, along with them, MS Swaminathan, also known as the father of the green revolution, will also be awarded the country's highest civilian award.
After the announcement, Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram said on Friday that it is of no consequence to him that the recognition has come on the 'eve of general elections'.
While Chidambaram welcomed the decision of the central government, he also said, "Happy that secular, socialist leaders have been awarded Bharat Ratna It is gratifying that the BJP is discovering the contribution of the three eminent men. It is of no consequence to me that the recognition has come on the eve of general elections. Homage to the memory of the three Bharat Ratna Awardees."
Hailing the government for announcing the award, RLD Chief further said, "If someone understands the public impulse... Those who have not been conferred with Bharat Ratna... Previous governments did not award Bharat Ratna to them. If the government wants to honour them, what is the deal, and what is wrong?"
On a question about RLD joining hands with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, he said, "You have asked a straight-to-business question."
He mentioned that his emotions "were connected on their own" (without naming anyone or political party) after the Centre announced the Bharat Ratna (for his grandfather, former prime minister Chaudhary Charan Singh).
"The accord... (between the BJP and RLD). What kind of matters have been fixed...What will our strategy be? How will the party contest the elections? The answers to all these questions will be answered with time," he added.
There have been speculations about Jayant Chaudhary jumping ship to the BJP, giving a jolt to the INDIA bloc.
Earlier in the day, the RLD chief said in Rajya Sabha today, "The decision taken to award Chaudhary Charan Singh with Bharat Ratna, it is a big decision...Yesterday, people celebrated Diwali after the announcement...Yesterday, the farmers distributed sweets in Connaught Place. This only shows that the decision was not only limited to his family members but is a decision to strengthen the farmers".
This is the last session of the current Lok Sabha before the general elections, which are likely to be held in April-May this year. The budget session initially scheduled to conclude on February 9 was extended by a day.