New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee today conferred the country's highest civilian honour, Bharat Ratna, (posthumously) on freedom fighter Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya.
Members of Malviya's family received the Bharat Ratna from Mukherjee at the traditional ceremony held in the historic Durbar Hall with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley along with other senior cabinet ministers in attendance.
Born on December 25, 1861, Pandit Malviya was catapulted into the political arena immediately after his first moving speech at the second Congress session held in Kolkata in 1886. He was President of INC in 1909 and 1918.
Setting up Banaras Hindu University (BHU) was one of the major achievements of Madan Mohan Malviya.
The President also conferred Padma Bhushan on India TV chairman and Editor-in-chief Rajat Sharma.
Rajat Sharma, the alumnus of Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi, is one of India's most powerful Editors. He had some of India's most powerful in attendance to celebrate 21st anniversary of his 'Aap Ki Adalat' in December 2014.
Last year, Sharma was appointed as President of News Broadcasters Association -- the apex body of Indian news channels, News Broadcasters Association.
Rajat Sharma's wife Ritu Dhawan, MD & CEO of India TV, was also present on the occasion.
Padma Bhushan is the third highest civilian award after the Bharat Ratna and the Padma Vibhushan.
Rajat Sharma had earlier dedicated the Padma award to his viewers. He had said, "I feel very humbled, I think it is for my viewers. I dedicate this award to my viewers. It is their love, their affection, their trust which has brought me where I am. It actually belongs to them."
A host of other other personalities included veteran BJP leader L K Advani and Punjab Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Parkash Singh Badal, were honoured with Padma awards by Mukherjee at a glittering ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan here.
The prominent who were awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award, included Advani and Badal, while Padma Bhushan was awarded to lawyer Harish Salve and journalists Swapan Dasgupta and Rajat Sharma.
Amongst the prominent Padma Shri awardees were film director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, writer-lyricist Prasoon Joshi, physician Dr Randeep Guleria, creator of popular cartoon character 'Chacha Chaudhary' Pran Kumar Sharma (posthumously), shuttler PV Sindhu, Hockey star Sardara Singh and amputee Everest climber Arunima Sinha.
The Narendra Modi government had last year announced the decision to confer Bharat Ratna on Malviya and former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
On Friday, Vajpayee was conferred with the Bharat Ratna by the President in a brief ceremony at his 6, Krishna Menon Marg residence.