SENIOR BJP leader and former Union Minister Dr Murli Manohar Joshi has been selected for Best Parliamentarian Award for the year 2009. The Award Committee, which selects the nominees for the honour, finalised his name at a meeting on April 21. This decision has to be endorsed by the Executive Committee of the Indian Parliamentary Group before it is formally announced. The committee also selected senior Samajwadi Party MP Shri Mohan Singh as the best parliamentarian for the year 2008.
Seventy-six-year-old Dr Joshi has a long parliamentary career. He was twice in the Rajya Sabha (from 1992 to 1996 and then from 2004 to 2009) and is a fifth-term Member of the Lok Sabha elected from Varanasi. He was Home Minister during the 13-day government headed by Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee in 1996 and was in charge of the HRD Ministry when the NDA was in power in 1998-1999 and from 1999 to 2004.
Instituted in 1995 by the Indian Parliamentary Group, the outstanding parliamentarian award has so far been conferred on 13 leaders. The first and second awards for the years 1995 and 1996 were conferred on Shri Chandra Shekhar and Shri Somnath Chatterjee respectively. The third and fourth awards for the years 1997 and 1998 were conferred on Shri Pranab Mukherjee and Shri S Jaipal Reddy respectively. The fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth awards for the years 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 were conferred on Shri LK Advani, Shri Arjun Singh, Shri Jaswant Singh and Dr Manmohan Singh respectively. The ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth awards for the years 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 were conferred on Shri Sharad Pawar, Smt Sushma Swaraj, Shri P Chidambaram and Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar respectively. The thirteenth award for the year 2007 was to be conferred on Shri Priyaranjan Dasmunsi. But due to his ill health it has not yet been presented. Now the Award Committee has decided to present it to his wife and Lok Sabha Member Deepa Dasmunsi on his behalf.
Born on January 5, 1934, in Allahabad, Dr Joshi was first elected to sixth Lok Sabha in 1977. He was re-elected to 11th Lok Sabha in 1996. From 1996 to 97 he was Chairman of Public Accounts Committee, Member of Committee on Finance, Consultative Committee, Ministry of Defence and Expert Committee on Law. He was re-elected to 12th Lok Sabha in 1998. He was re-elected to 13th Lok Sabha in 1999. In May 2009, he was re-elected to Lok Sabha from Varanasi.
He held various responsibilities in Bharatiya Jan Sangh and then in Bharatiya Janata Party. He was party president from 1991 to 1993. He also authored many books including Vikalp (The alternative), Pragya Pravah (The Continuing Wisdom) both in Hindi and Science Sustainability and Indian National Resurgence.
He was also honoured with many other awards. They include Jawaharlal Nehru Award by the Indian Science Conference (1999), Nicolay Rerikh Medal for his contribution in the sphere of ecology by the International Academy of Ecology, Man and Nature Protection Sciences, St. Petersburg, National Citizens Award India (2001), Friendship Medals by the President of Mongolia in July 2002 for his contribution towards development of relationship between India and Mongolia and Life Time Award by the Indian Science Congress (2004).