Writer & Odisha CM's sister Gita Mehta says 'No' to Padma Shri 'in poll year'
Bhubaneswar: Eminent writer Gita Mehta on Saturday declined to accept the Padmi Shri, saying it might be "misconstrued" in an year of major elections. Mehta, who is Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's sister, was awarded the Padma Shri in the field of literature and education.
"I am deeply honoured that the Government of India should think me worthy of a 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," Mehta said in her statement from New York.
Lok Sabha polls in the country as well as state Assembly election in Odisha are due this year. Mehta had been selected for the Padma Shri in the 'Foreigners' category for her outstanding contribution to the field of art and literature. She has authored books like Karma Cola (1979), Raj (1989), A River Sutra (1993), Snakes and Ladders: Glimpses of Modern India (1997) and Eternal Ganesha: From Birth to Rebirth (2006).
The 76-year-old writer has also produced and/ or directed 14 documentaries.
Odisha will face both general and Assembly elections in April-May this year. The BJP and BJD are trying hard to edge out each other in the state. On Friday, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who was in Odisha, alleged that Naveen Patnaik was "a junior partner" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
During his last three visits to Odisha, though Modi attacked the state government, he did not name Patnaik.