Shimla : Governor Bandaru Dattatraya said that Nanaji Deshmukh’s stellar contribution towards rural development showed the way for a new paradigm of empowering those living in our villages. He personifies humility, compassion and commitment to the downtrodden. He is a Bharat Ratna in the truest sense!While interacting on a virtual platform in a programme organized by “Towards Better India” on the occasion of the death anniversary of Nanaji Deshmukh, the Governor said that Nanaji was a social reformer and a statesman par excellence. He did excellent work in the fields of education, health, and rural self-reliance. He was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan in 1999 and was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award posthumously in 2019. He established India’s first Saraswati Shishu Mandir at Gorakhpur in 1950.He said that Nanaji always shared good relations not only with his party colleagues but also with his opponents. His association with Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia changed the course of Indian politics. Lohia and Deshmukh’s friendship led to the first non-Congress coalition government in Uttar Pradesh after the 1967 state assembly election. His life and work is an example of how technology and tradition can be synchronised for the welfare and empowerment of people. Nanaji was someone who rose above party politics. In his mission of social service he cut across all party lines and gathered people and leaders from all dimensions towards the mission of development. The message of Nana ji’s life is that of nurturing nobility of leadership and perseverance through constant innovation in his mission of achieving socio- economic development”.Shri Dattatraya shared his experience during construction of “Deen Dyal Puram” with Nanaji and said that his contribution to the society would always be remembered. The future generation needs to follow the path shown by him and this would be a true tribute to him, he added.K. Venkat Krishna Rao welcomed the Governor on the occasion and briefed about the activities of “Towards Better India” on this occasion.