Former president Pranab Mukherjee was on Thursday conferred with the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour. The political career of the 83-year-old, who served as India's President from 2012 till 2017, spanned about five decades. President Ram Nath Kovind gave the award to Mukherjee, Hazarika's son Tej and Virenderjeet Singh, a close relative of Deshmukh, at a function held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Pranab Mukherjee's political career spanned more than five decades. Popularly known as 'Pranab da', he was a ministerin governments headed by Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, PV Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh. Pranab Mukherjee served as the 13th President of the country from 2012 to 2017. Prior to this, he was Finance Minister from 2009 to 2012.
Pranab Mukherjee was born on 11 December 1935 in Mirati village in Birbhum district, West Bengal. He did his Master's in Political Science and History and his LLB from Calcutta University.On being selected for Bharat Ratna, on 26 January this year, Pranab Mukherjee said, "I want to show my gratitude to the people of the country. I have gained so much from this country and from the people of this country. I accept this honour with humility. "
When his name was announced for the award in January, he was congratulated by leaders of all parties. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he is the best politician of our time. He has served the country tirelessly for decades. Rahul Gandhi had said the Congress party is proud of him.
Late Assamese singer Bhupen Hazarika and late social activist Nanaji Deshmukh were also awarded with the Bharat Ratna -posthumously.