Ex-Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee refuses to accept Padma Bhushan
Former West Bengal Chief Minister and veteran leader Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Tuesday refused to accept the Padma Bhushan, India's third-highest civilian award. He claimed he had no idea about being nominated for the award. "No one told me anything about it. If they have given me a Padma Bhushan award. I am rejecting it," a statement on his party CPM's social media read.
Why does this story matter?
- It is exceptionally rare for a recipient to turn down one of India's highest civilian honors, the Padma Bhushan award.
- Bhattacharjee had spoken out against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's regime on various occasions and had always been critical of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
- "Our work is for the people, not for awards," the CPM said in a tweet.
Party issues statement on Bhattacharjee's behalf
Bengal CPM state secretary Surjya Kanta Misra tweeted, "It is difficult for Buddha da to move frequently, read or write. If we have to take some advice from him, we write it down, read it out to him and then take his consent." "His brain is working better than before. On this issue, it is our responsibility to publish his reaction as is."
Government notified Bhattacharjee's wife: Report
Before announcing his name, the Union Home Ministry had notified Bhattacharjee's wife about the Padma Bhushan honor, said reports citing official sources. Nobody from Bhattacharjee's family had contacted the ministry to express dissatisfaction with the award, they said. Bhattacharjee was declared as one of the 128 Padma award recipients late in the evening on Tuesday.
Ace singer also turns down Padma award
Veteran singer Sandhya Mukherjee has also turned down the Padma award. "At the age of 90, with a singing career spanning over about eight decades, being chosen for Padma Shri is demeaning for a singer of her stature," said her daughter Soumi Sengupta to PTI. She said that the Padma award is for junior artists. Mukherjee has also worked with several Bollywood music directors.
Who else refused honorary awards in the past?
Film writer Salim Khan had refused to accept the Padma Shri award in 2015. Historian Romila Thapar had turned down the Padma Bhushan in 2005 after returning her 1974 award in 1984 due to the Indian Army's siege of the Golden Temple. In 1984, author Khushwant Singh returned his 1974 Padma Bhushan on the same issue, however, he accepted the Padma Vibhushan in 2007.