Renowned Odiya origin author Geeta Mehta has declined the Padma Shri conferred upon her by the government for her distinguished contribution to literature and education.
Renowned Odiya origin author Geeta Mehta has declined the Padma Shri conferred upon her by the government for her distinguished contribution to literature and education. According to a report in The Indian Express, Mehta said that the honour may be “misconstrued… with a general election looming”.
The author is based in New York and has authored several books. She is the sister of current Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik and daughter of former CM Biju Patnaik.
In a press statement issued on Friday from New York, Mehta said that she is deeply honoured that the Government of India has honoured her with Padma Shri./
“…but with great regret I feel I must decline as there is a general election looming and the timing of the award might be misconstrued, causing embarrassment both to the Government and myself, which I would much regret,” her statement reads.
The development comes just ahead of general elections and assembly polls in Odisha. Mehta’s brother Naveen is waging a hard fought contest against the BJP as he seeks a fifth continuous term as CM.
Prominent among the books authored by Mehta are ‘Karma Cola’, ‘A River Sutra’, ‘Snakes and Ladders: Glimpses of Modern India’ and ‘Eternal Ganesha: From Birth to Rebirth’. The 76-year-old writer has also produced and/or directed 14 documentaries.
The list of Padma awardees released on the website of Ministry of Home Affairs listed Mehta as a “foreigner”.