On Tuesday, veteran CPI (M) leader and former West Bengal Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, rejected the Padma Bhushan award bestowed upon him by the government of India. The Chairman of the party, Biman Bose, said that it was an individual decision of Mr Bhattacharjee in consultation with the party. Although he is still a party holder, as sources revealed, the Bhattacharjee family told the media that he was going to refuse the Padma Bhushan award. On the contrary, some verified sources clarified that on Tuesday morning his family was well-informed about it and at the time, no intent of rejection was expressed as regards the award.
Chronologically, on the eve of the 73rd Republic Day, the Centre had announced the names of the Padma Award recipients. As per the list released by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Former West Bengal Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, was to be conferred with the Padma Bhushan award among 17 others. However, expressing his intention to reject the third civilian award, Bhattacharjee said that he knew nothing about his nomination for the award nor had anyone told him anything about it. On the contrary, according to officials, the ex-CM's wife was well aware of the award nomination and had even accepted it with thanks. Further, top government sources reported, “It is factually incorrect that the family was not informed about the government's decision to bestow him with this honour.”
To shed more light on it, Padma Awards are one of the highest civilian awards of the country and are conferred in three categories- Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan, and Padma Shri. As per this year's list, Padma Vibhushan recipients, among others, consisted of Former Uttar Pradesh First Chief of Defence Staff, Late General Bipin Rawat, and Chief Minister Kalyan Singh. On the other hand, the Padma Bhushan awardees include Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, SII MD Cyrus Poonawalla and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai. The Padma Awards are given in various disciplines or fields of activities such as Social Work, Art, Science, Engineering, Public Affairs, Trade and Industry, Medicine, Sports, Literature and Education, Civil Service, among others.
Now, coming back to the main discussion about Buddhadeb Bhattacharya's statement, people dwelt upon the fact that the Padma Bhushan award is a prestigious National Award. It is not given by some political party, rather by the government which means the country recognizes it. It would have been respectful as regards the citizens as well as the government of India if the award had been accepted gracefully. However, seeing this as a big insult, all that remains is a floating question-was it all merely a political afterthought?
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