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BJD Says Gita’s Refusal To Padma Shouldn’t Be Politicised

26 January 2019

Debashish Maharana

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Bhubaneswar: As political murmurings, especially from the opposition BJP and Congress, have surfaced following Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's elder sister as well as noted writer Gita Mehta’s humble refusal to accept Padma Shri, nation’s fourth highest civilian award, ruling BJD today stated that the matter should not be politicized.

In his media reactions, BJD spokesperson Pratap Keshari Deb said, “The statements being given by BJP and Congress on Gita Didi are uncalled for. Whatever statements she has issued is purely her personal. Hence, BJD has nothing to comment on it.”

On the long pending demand for conferring Bharat Ratna on Biju Patnaik (Biju Babu), the BJD spokesperson rued, “It’s extremely saddening. Four crores of Odias are emotionally attached to him. The contributions of Biju Babu to building new Odisha certainly demand the highest civilian award.”

“His political acumen is not confined to Odisha, but has also been exhibited at the national level. Going by his biography, his ability and capability should be in red letter in the annals of history. Thus, he deserves Bharat Ratna,” he asserted.

Notably, Gita Mehta in a press release from New York has stated, "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 had been selected for the Padma Shri in the 'Foreigners' category for her outstanding contribution to the field of art and literature. On the contrary, BJD has been demanding since long for the highest civilian award in favour of the legendary statesman of India Biju Patnaik.

Also Read: Gita Mehta Refuses To Accept Padma Shri

Also Read: Here's What Padma Shri Awardees Of Odisha Have To Say To Future Generation

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Pratap Keshari Deb, Spokesperson, BJD