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Govt dismisses reports on Padma awards, calls it ‘speculative’

“These awards will be announced on 25th of January, on the eve of the Republic Day,” MHA official statement reads.

MHA’s reaction came a day after a section of media reported that Yoga guru Baba Ramdev, Bharatiya Janata Party veteran LK Advani, spiritual leader Shri Shri Ravi Shankar and veteran actors Amitabh Bachchan and Rajinikanth are among this year’s recipients of the prestigious Padma awards that recognises lifelong service to the country.

There are also speculation that the awards this year will be conferred on Republic Day, has several names who are known to be close to the saffron party, which includes lyricist, actors, singers, politicians and policy makers. Name of Prasoon Joshi is also doing rounds who worked extensively on the BJP’s advertisement campaign for the Lok Sabha elections.

Among journalists there are unconfirmed reports that Swapan Dasgupta and Rajat Sharma will also be conferred with the award. Economist Bibek Debroy, a member of the newly instituted NITI Aayog, is also expected to get the award.

Padma awards, given since 1954 on Republic Day in honour of contributions in wide-ranging pursuits, have often been subject of controversy due to the arbitrary nature of the selection process and inevitable charges of favouritism by the government and the ruling party.

They are given in three categories--Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan, in ascending order of distinction. It’s unclear which names have been picked for which awards.

“Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal and Advani are the only two politicians in the list of 148 recipients. Also, actor Dilip Kumar, director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and scriptwriter Salim Khan, badminton player PV Sindhu, wrestler Sushil Kumar and Arunima Sinha, the first woman amputee mountaineer to climb Mount Everest, are among those honoured,” sources said.
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