Congress president Rahul Gandhi has issued a tweet congratulating former President of India Pranab Mukherjee on being honoured with the Bharat Ratna:
A short while earlier, the former President had tweeted graciously accepting India's highest civilian honour:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had tweeted his delight at Pranab Mukherjee being honoured just minutes after the announcement was made:
The Bharat Ratna - India's highest civilian honour - is conferred on people in recognition of their exceptional service, contribution, performance of the highest order without distinction of race, occupation, position or sex. Till December 2011, the award was limited to achievements in the fields of arts, literature, science, and public services, but the criteria has since been expanded to include any field of human endeavour. Recommendations for the Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime Minister to the President, with a maximum of three nominees being awarded per year.
Pranab Mukherjee, who was President of India between 2012-17, has been an ever-present in Indian politics for almost half a century and has served in multiple key ministerial berths across a wide range of Congress-led governments.