Attempt to strike right notes in poll-bound states? Biggest Padmas to Kalyan Singh, Gen Bipin Rawat

Two senior leaders of the opposition — Ghulam Nabi Azad (Congress) and Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee (CPM) — were on the list of Padma awardees announced by the Centre.

Published: 26th January 2022 02:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th January 2022 08:05 AM   |  A+A-

CoDS General Bipin Rawat

Late CoDS General Bipin Rawat (File Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  In what appeared to be an attempt to strike the right notes in the poll-bound states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the Centre on Tuesday awarded Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award in India, posthumously to former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh and General Bipin Rawat, who hailed from Uttarakhand and was India’s first Chief of Defence Staff. Gen Rawat died in a helicopter crash in December last year. 

Two senior leaders of the opposition — Ghulam Nabi Azad (Congress) and Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee (CPM) — were on the list of Padma awardees announced by the Centre on the eve of the 73rd Republic Day.

Both were honoured with the Padma Bhushan, but Bhattacharjee later said he would reject it.

“Nobody told me about it. If I have been awarded the Padma Bhushan, I would reject it,” he said. But the Centre said his wife had been informed, adding she did not get back to convey the rejection.  

Azad, one of the members of the G23, the Congress rebel group, was given an emotional farewell by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when his tenure ended in Rajya Sabha in February last year.

Azad has been vocal on calling for sweeping organisational changes and a permanent accountable leadership in the Congress. 

Vaccine makers featured prominently on the list. Cyrus Poonawalla, founder of Pune-based Serum Institute of India and Covaxin maker Bharat Biotech’s chairman Krishna Ella and his co-founder wife Suchitra Ella were awarded Padma Bhushan. Indian-origin Silicon Valley titans Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, classical vocalists Dr Prabha Atre and Rashid Khan and former Comptroller and Auditor General of India Rajiv Mehrishi, too, were awarded Padmas. 

Among sports persons, paralympic gold medallist Devendra Jhajharia was conferred Padma Bhushan. Para javelin thrower Sumit Antil, para shooter Avani Lekhara, para badminton player Pramod Bhagat and Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra were named for Padma Shri.

Famous singer Sonu Nigam and Jamia Millia Islamia’s first woman Vice-Chancellor Najma Akhtar, too, were on that list. 

Of the 128 Padma awards, four were Padma Vibhushan, 17 Padma Bhushan and 107 Padma Shris. 


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