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vajpayee and malviyaThe Union government on Wednesday announced the prestigious Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, for former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and freedom fighter Madan Mohan Malaviya.

A meeting of the Union Cabinet was convened here on Wednesday where the decision to confer the honour on Vajpayee and Malviya was taken.

The announcement coincides with Vajpayee’s birthday on December 25 which the government has already declared as the ‘Good Governance Day’.

A Bharat Ratna for Madan Mohan Malaviya, freedom fighter and educationist popularly known as ‘Mahamana’, was one of the promises made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his election campaigns.

“The President has been pleased to award Bharat Ratna to Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya (posthumously) and to Atal Bihari Vajpayee,” a press communique from Rashtrapati Bhavan said.

43 people have been honoured with the Bharat Ratna since its inception, including scientist CV Raman, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, singer Lata Mangeshkar and politicians C Rajagopalachari.

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