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Former Bihar chief minister and Dalit leader Jitan Ram Manjhi today sought Bharat Ratna for noted socialist leader Karpoori Thakur and Dasrath Manjhi, a poor labourer from his state who toiled for 22 years to carve a road through a mountain.
The president of the Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) was addressing a press meet here ahead of a national conference of party workers scheduled on Saturday at the Talkatora Stadium in Delhi.
"We feel that 'Jananayak' Karpoori Thakur, who was a great socialist leader, be accorded the Bharat Ratna," Manjhi said.
Born in Bihar's Samastipur's district, Thakur, a champion of the poor and marginalised, served as the chief minister of the state in 1970s.
"Besides, we feel that Dasrath Manjhi, who toiled for 22 years to carve road through a mountain, should have been given the Bharat Ratna by now. It is unfortunate that he hasn't been given. So, we seek the honour for him too," he said.
Instituted in 1954, 'Bharat Ratna' is the highest civilian honour of the country conferred in recognition of exceptional service or performance.
Dasrath Manjhi's incredible story had inspired a movie-- Mountain Man-- in which actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui essayed his role.
After 22 years of chipping through the huge mountain in his village Gehlaur, he single-handedly reduced the long distance between Atri and Wazirganj blocks of Gaya town to just a few kilometres.
His story of extraordinary determination earned him the moniker "Mountain Man".
Born in 1934, he died of cancer in 2007 in state of penury.
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