Patna: To the lengthening list doing rounds for Bharat Ratna, a socio-political outfit from Bihar has added one more name. It has demanded the country's highest honour for former chief minister Karpoori Thakur for his contribution to social justice.
Thakur, popularly known as jan-nayak or people's leader, was one of the socialist leaders close to Jaya Prakash Narayan who spearheaded the movement for 'total revolution' as well as protests against the Emergency rule (1975-77).
Regarded as an honest and hard working leader, Thakur, who belonged to a backward caste, was chief minister of Bihar from December 1970 to June 1971 and from December 1977 to April 1979.
HIS PEER: Karpoori Thakur was also the political mentor of Lalu Prasad, Ramvilas Paswan and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Rashtriya Janata Dal legislator Bhim Singh, who heads the Samajik Nyay Samata Andolan, has urged the Central Government to confer Bharat Ratna posthumously on Thakur.
"Bharat Ratna should be conferred on Karpoori Thakur for his contribution to social justice," said Singh, who submitted a 20-point charter of demands to the Governor December 6.
Singh said Thakur was an icon for millions of poor people not only in Bihar but also in other parts of the country. Thakur was a mentor of RJD chief and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, Lok Janshakti Party chief and Steel Minister Ramvilas Paswan as well as Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
The Bihar Legislative Assembly had a few years ago passed a unanimous resolution, demanding Bharat Ratna for Thakur. "Even on January 23 last year, a unanimous resolution was passed, seeking Bharat Ratna for Thakur," Singh said.
Last week, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati demanded Bharat Ratna for on her mentor and her party's founder Kanshi Ram. A little earlier, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, demanding Bharat Ratna for former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The name of veteran Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Jyoti Basu also did rounds for the top honour though Basu said he was "not in the race". The award is usually announced on the Republic Day.