Kolkata, Jan 26: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sparked a debate on Monday by saying that the Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan deserves Bharat Ratna and Padma Vibhushan is not enough for him.
"Amitabh Bachchan is a legend in his lifetime. Padma Vibhushan is not enough. Somebody of his stature deserves a Bharat Ratna," Banerjee said.
Eminent lawyer KK Venugopal, D. Veerendra Heggade of the famous Dharmasthala Jain temple in Karnataka, eminent nuclear scientist MR Srinivasan and the Aga Khan were also chosen for Padma Vibhushan.
Filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali, economist Bibek Debroy, lyricist Prasoon Joshi, who helped BJP's Lok Sabha campaign, sports personality Saba Anjum, one of the founders of Infosys T.V. Mohandas Pai, badminton player PV Sindhu, woman cricketer Mithali Raj, Gujarati writer Tarak Mehta were given Padma Shri.
Former CEC N Gopalaswami, Microsoft chief Bill Gates and his wife Melinda were selected for Padma Bhushan in the list of 104 people whose names were released on the eve of Republic day.
This list comprises nine Padma Vibhushan, 20 Padma Bhushan and 75 Padma Shri awardees. 17 of them were women and equal number were in the category of foreigners, NRIs, PIOs and four posthumous awardees.
Badminton star Saina Nehwal and boxer Vijendra Singh, who sought Padma awards have been ignored.
The award will be given at a function later in the year.
(With inputs from agencies)