New Delhi: Former President Pranab Mukherjee will be conferred with the highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna. Late Assamese singer Bhupen Hazarika and late social activist Nanaji Deshmukh will also be felicitated with the Bharat Ratna, posthumously.

“The President has been pleased to award Bharat Ratna to Nanaji Deshmukh (posthumously), Dr Bhupen Hazarika (posthumously), and former President Dr Pranab Mukherjee,” a statement issued by the Rashtrapati Bhavan said on Saturday.

“Pranab Da is an outstanding statesman of our times. He has served the nation selflessly & tirelessly for decades, leaving a strong imprint on the nation’s growth trajectory. His wisdom and intellect have few parallels. Delighted that he has been conferred the Bharat Ratna,” PM Modi said, soon after the announcement. Notably, Mukherjee was president between 2012 and 2017.

Hailing Bhupen Hazarika and recounting the contribution of the singer-musician, the Prime Minister stated,”The songs and music of Bhupen Hazarika are admired by people across generations. From them radiates the message of justice, harmony and brotherhood. He popularised India’s musical traditions globally. Happy that the Bharat Ratna has been conferred on Bhupen Da.”

Showering praise on Nanaji Deshmukh, PM asserted that, the late social activist personifies humility, compassion and service to the downtrodden. “His stellar contribution towards rural development showed the way for a new paradigm of empowering those living in our villages. He is a Bharat Ratna in the truest sense,” the Prime Minister added.