Let the State government decide, says actor

The Union government has no right to downgrade a State government’s recommendation for a Padma award and doing that is tantamount to insulting that State government and its people, veteran actor Madhu said here on Monday.

Mr. Madhu figures on the list of Padma Shri awardees announced on January 25.

He told The Hindu that this year, the Kerala government had recommended only his name for the Padma Bhushan.

“The Centre could have rejected it had they found that I am in some way unsuitable for a Padma award. But who are they to downgrade the State’s recommendation? How are they qualified to do that? All my life I have never been an applicant for any award. So, I don’t see the Padma Shri as being inherently inferior,” Mr. Madhu explained.

The downgrading of Kerala’s recommendation is an insult to its government and its people, he said. But it is for the State government to take a call on this.

“If the State government feels that Kerala and its people have been slighted by this action of the Centre, I will only be too happy not to accept the Padma Shri,” he said.

According to Mr. Madhu, he has made known this stand of his to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and to Cultural Affairs Minister K.C. Joseph. “I am awaiting their decision,” he added.