Janata Dal (Secular) leader Danish Ali on Friday said former president Pranab Mukherjee was being awarded the Bharat Ratna as he had visited the RSS headquarters in Nagpur and had described Sangh ideologue KB Hedgewar as the "son of the soil". The JD-S secretary-general also protested the award being conferred on Mukherjee and not on seer Shivakumara Swami of the Siddaganga Mutt in Karnataka, who died at the age of 111.
"Pranab Mukherjee is being awarded the Bharat Ratna because he visited the RSS headquarters and described the founding Sarsanghchalak chief, KB Hedgewar, as 'the son of the soil'," he said.
Ali added that there were more deserving candidates than the former president in the field of politics, like Biju Patnaik and Kanshi Ram, who had worked for the masses.
"We protest this as Sri Sri Shivakumara Swami of Siddaganga has not been conferred the award. Swamiji was a legend and had worked towards the social welfare of people all his life," he said.
Ali added that the people of Karnataka would teach a lesson to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for not conferring the award on Shivakumara Swami.