New Delhi, Jan 26: Like previous years, this time also Padma awards list has garnered its share of controversy. First, let us talk about the positives. The Union Government has got a lot of praise for selecting several 'unsung' heroes from across the country for the prestigious awards. However, the selection of three political stalwarts has stirred up a hornet's nest, literally.
The news about Murli Manohar Joshi, Sharad Pawar and PA Sangma being selected for this year's Padma awards has raised many eyebrows. Three of them will be conferred with Padma Vibhushan--country's second highest civilian award. In fact, Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honour, will not be conferred on anybody this year.
Do they really deserve awards?
In an article published by The Hindu, it has been clearly stated that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government used the awards to score political points. Take for instance the case of Sharad Pawar, the chief of Nationalist Congress Party. Everyone knows how well he maintains good rapport with leaders from all political parties.
Be it PM Modi or his arch-rival Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the former chief minister of Maharashtra is a 'good buddy' to all. In fact, that is why in spite of several corruption charges against him, the former union minister remained untouched. We have also seen how Pawar has hardly raised any question against the Centre on any issue, including the controversial note ban decision.
Moreover, the Bharatiya Janata Party wants to be in a safe zone in case its ally Shiv Sena leaves the alliance in Maharashtra. Of late, we have seen how vocally several Shiv Sena netas have criticised PM Modi over demonetisation.
Now, take the case of Joshi, the veteran BJP leader. After PM Modi came to power, Joshi, Lal Krishna Advani and other BJP veterans were relegated to the background. These days, the 'old' netas of the BJP are known as Margdarshaks (guides). As the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections are scheduled to take place next month, its looks like the BJP wants to keep Joshi in good humour, as he still controls several pockets in the state.
Last but not the least, let us take the case of Sangma. The former speaker of Lok Sabha and leader of the NCP will be conferred the award posthumously. In fact, it was Sangma and his former party colleague Pawar, who had raised the issue of 'foreign origin' against Sonia Gandhi, when the United Progressive Alliance came to power in 2009. Back then, the Congress wanted Gandhi to become the country's PM.
Morever, Sagma's son, Conrad, heads the National People's Party in Meghalaya. The NPP is part of the North Eastern Democratic Alliance affiliated to the ruling National Democratic Alliance.