New Delhi, March 27: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday described former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as a truly great statesman who richly deserves the honour of the Bharat Ratna being bestowed on him.
"Happy that Atal Ji is being conferred Bharat Ratna today. A truly great statesman who richly deserves honour. I wish him well..." she tweeted.
President Pranab Mukherjee will present the Bharat Ratna to Vajpayee today at the latter's residence in Lutyens' Delhi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be among a host of VVIPs likely to be present at the ceremony.
Various political leaders, including Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and former J-K chief minister Omar Abdullah, have welcomed the Bharat Ratna for the former prime minister.
Happy that Atal Ji is being conferred Bharat Ratna today. A truly great statesman who richly deserves honour. I wish him well...— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) March 27, 2015
Vajpayee, a three-time prime minister of India, is the first leader from the Bharatiya Janata Party to be given the country's highest civilian award.
Vajpayee, who was Prime Minister from 1998 to 2004, and has faded from public life due to age-related illness, is lauded as a statesman and has been often described as the moderate face of BJP.
The Rashtrapati Bhavan had, via a press communique, earlier in December stated that PresidentMukherjee will be conferring the Bharat Ratna to Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya (posthumously) and to Vajpayee.