THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Padma awards declaration has once again kicked up a row in Kerala. Of the four Padma awardees from the state, three — P Parameswaran, Dr M R Rajagopal and Lakshmikutty — were not recommended by the state government, while all the names barring one that were proposed by it were rejected by the Centre. Curiously, the state had recommended the name of Rajagopal for the 2017 Padma awards.In its response to an RTI application filed by activist Jomon Puthenpurackal, the chief secretary’s office said that the state government had recommended 42 names, including those of writer M T Vasudevan Nair (Padma Vibhushan), poet Sugathakumari, actors Mammootty and Mohanlal (all Padma Bhushan), for the awards.
The names proposed by the state also included those of Kathakali artiste Kalamandalam Gopi, percussionist Peruvanam Kuttan Marar, and Philipose Mar Chrysostom (all Padma Bhushan), in addition to 35 names for Padma Shri. However, the Centre cleared only the name of Mar Chrysostom from the list.
The names recommended for Padma Shri included T Padmanabhan, M K Sanu, C Radhakrishnan, Soorya Krishnamoorthy, Chavara Parukutty, Kanayi Kunjiraman, Ramesh Narayanan, artist Namboothiri, K G Jayan, G K Pillai, E P Unny, Nedumudi Venu, Dr V P Gangadharan, Fr Davis Chiramel, M Mathews, K N Gopalakrishnan Bhat, E Chandrasekharan Nair, Dr B Ekbal and I M Vijayan.
The names were finalised by a search committee headed by state Culture Minister A K Balan and a team comprising the chief secretary, panel secretary, ministers Ramachandran Kadannappally, E Chandrasekharan, Mathew T Thomas and former minister Thomas Chandy. The names proposed by the committee were cleared by the Cabinet and sent to the Union government last September. Of the 42 Padma recommendations from Kerala, only one was cleared by the Centre. Three other Malayalis who got the Padma awards were actually recommended by others.