Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s name in the Padma Awards list announced on the eve of the 73rd Republic Day evoked mixed reactions from his party colleagues. While Shashi Tharoor welcomed the news, Jairam Ramesh came up with a jibe.
Ramesh retweeted the news of former West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya declining the Padma award and wrote: “Right thing to do. He wants to be Azad not Ghulam.”
Veteran Congress leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was part of the group of 23 which has been critical of the party leadership and has sought an organisational overhaul, has been awarded the Padma Bhushan for his contribution to public affairs.
Along with Azad, Bhattacharya was also named in the list of awardees. While there was no response from the Congress leader, the veteran CPI(M) leader said he was rejecting the country’s third-highest award.
“I don’t know anything about the Padma Bhushan. No one has told me anything about it. If indeed they have given me the Padma Bhushan, then I reject it,” read Bhattacharjee’s statement issued in Bengali.
Meanwhile, Tharoor congratulated the veteran Congress leader on being conferred with the Padma award. “Warm congratulations to Shri @ghulamnazad on his Padma Bhushan. It is good to be recognized for one’s public service even by a government of the other side,” his tweet read.
Azad being named for the Padma award comes amid the infighting within the Congress over leadership issues with Ramesh and the former falling in opposite camps. While Azad has been among the party veterans calling sweeping organisational changes and a permanent accountable leadership, Ramesh has been staunch in his support of the Gandhi family.