Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s name in the Padma lists announced on the eve of the 73rd Republic Day evoked mixed reactions from party colleagues this evening. While Shashi Tharoor gave the news an unambiguous welcome, a jibe came from Jairam Ramesh.
Retweeting the news of Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee declining the Padma award, Mr Ramesh tweeted, “Right thing to do. He wants to be Azad not Ghulam”.
Right thing to do. He wants to be Azad not Ghulam. https://t.co/iMWF00S9Ib
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) January 25, 2022
Both Mr Azad and Mr Bhattacharjee were conferred the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award. But while there was no response from the Congress leader, Mr Bhattacharjee — an arch-critic of the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi — promptly issued a statement declining the 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 Mr Bhattacharjee’s statement issued in Bengali.