New Delhi : Amid heightened speculations over nominations for Bharat Ratna, separate appeals were made on Monday to confer the country’s highest civilian award to freedom fighter Swatantryaveer Savarkar, social reformer Jyotiba Phule, socialist leaders Acharya Narendra Deo, Ram Manohar Lohia, Jaiprakash Narayan, musician-singer Dr Bhupen Hazarika and freedom fighter Biju Patnaik.

Earlier reports said former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose may be named for Bharat Ratna. Like Netaji, Savarkar made immense contribution to the freedom struggle.

He was the leader of the armed rebellion against the British rule for which he was sentenced to two life imprisonments and was sent to Andaman, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said.  Noting that Savarkar is also a “hero” to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he told PTI that the PM realises that Netaji and Savarkar have been “consistently ignored” by the Congress. NDA ally in Maharashtra Republican Party of India (RPI-A) demanded that social reformer Jyotiba Phule be conferred the country’s highest civilian award.

RPI chief Ramdas Athawale said Phule, also known as Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, was a revolutionary leader and worked not only for Maharashtra but for the whole country.

 “Baba Saheb Ambedkar had considered him as his guru… If Subhash Chandra Bose, Madan Mohan Malviya and Atal Bihari

Vajpayee are being given Bharat Ratna, I think there should also be a thought of giving Bharat Ratna to Mahatma Phule,”Athawale said.

 Raising the award issue during Zero Hour in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, Naresh Agarwal (SP) said Bharat Ratna should be conferred on the veteran socialist leaders Acharya Narendra Deo, Ram Manohar Lohia and Jaiprakash Narayan.

Meanwhile, in Assam, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to honour the state’s cultural icon late Dr Bhupen Hazarika with the Bharat Ratna. The demand to honour Hazarika with the Bharat Ratna was raised by the state legislative Assembly and his fans across the state and outside, after his death in November 2011.

 In Odisha, Padma awardee sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik created a sand sculpture appealing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to consider the name of Odisha’s former Chief Minister and freedom fighter Biju Patnaik for the Bharat Ratna award.

Sudarshan created the sand art with a message ‘Bharat Ratna for Biju Patnaik’ at Puri beach.

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