Ghulam Nabi Azad of Congress, who received the Padma Bhushan award from President Ram Nath Kovind in Rashtrapati Bhavan today, said, “It feels good when the state or government recognizes someone’s work”.
“I like someone recognizing my work. Even during ups and downs in different phases of my life, I always strive to work for the people, whether in the social or political sphere or as (former) Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir,” ANI news agency quoting him as saying.
“In view of this, I am happy with the award given by the government and the people of this country,” he added.
The senior leader was one of two opposition leaders listed for the award on the eve of Republic Day amid turmoil in Congress over leadership issues. Upon his acceptance of the award, he has been overshadowed by some of the leaders in Congress.
Citing veteran CPM chief and former Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee who turned down the award, Mr Azad’s party counterpart Jairam Ramesh tweeted, “The right thing to do. He wants to be Azad not Ghulam”.
Today, Mr Azad slammed critics, saying, “Some people always try to see why such awards are given and to whom they are given. They do not recognize the process and contribution of that person to achieve this award. This award is given by the state to me. “
The issue of leadership in Congress, which Mr Azad and other leaders wrote to party leader Sonia Gandhi two years ago, remains unresolved. The matter flared up again after the party’s heavy defeat in assembly elections in five states where Congress recorded one of its worst performances.
Mr Azad received the Padma Bhushan award – the third highest honor – in the field of Public Affairs. One of the nation’s highest public Awards, the Padma award is given in a variety of disciplines and areas of activity.
This year’s list consists of four Padma Vibhushan, 17 Padma Bhushan and 107 Padma Shri Awards. 34 of the award recipients were women and 13 were posthumous award recipients.