Of 19 PMO recommendations, only 11 made the final cut; former militant Gulam Mir got in with BJP MLA's support

The Prime Minister's Office recommended 19 names to the 2010 Padma Awards Committtee in two batches — seven before the official deadline of November 20, 2009, and 12 after its expiry. Of the 19, only 11 made the final cut. Those weeded out included high profile names such as former National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra, painter Jatin Das, dancer-scholar Padma Subrahmanyam, and AIIMS professor and doctor-on-call with NDTV Sandeep Guleria.

President Pratibha Patil made no recommendations, nor did Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.

Congress veteran Motilal Vora recommended 19 names, among them former Speaker Balram Jhakar. Mr. Jhakar lost the race, as did 16 others in the list.

Minister for Law and Justice M. Veerappa Moily followed with 16 names, of which none hit the bull's eye. Conspicuous among the losers on his list were educationist and former Vice-Chancellor of Delhi University Upendra Baxi, businessman and Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar, and dancer Pratibha Prahlad.

Minister for Overseas Affairs Vayalar Ravi had the most success. Of the eight names he recommended, four made it, including controversial hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukerjee, who supported five names, could get just one person into the Padma list — Bikas Chandra Sinha, who was conferred the Padma Vibhushan for Science and Engineering. However, Mr. Sinha was also backed by former West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi, Planning Commission member K. Kasturi Rangan, and former Atomic Energy Commission Chairman M.R. Srinivasan.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who was rejected, had the support of a host of big names, among them the BJP government in Karnataka, Congress State unit chief R.V. Deshpande and three Cabinet Ministers — Murli Deora, Mr. Moily and Mallikarjun Kharge.

Stage and theatre personality Soorya Krishnamoorthy missed the award despite being backed by the Kerala government, former ISRO chairman and Padma Vibhushan awardee G. Madhavan Nair, Sarod maestro and Padma Vibhushan awardee Amjad Ali Khan, director Adoor Gopalakrishnan — also a Padma Vibhushan recipient — singer K.J. Jesudas, dancer Padma Subrahmanyam, and Union Minister Shashi Tharoor.

On the other hand, reformed Jammu and Kashmir militant Gulam Mohammed Mir got the Padma Shri for public service, with the backing of Union Cabinet Minister Farooq Abdullah, Jammu and Kashmir Minister Gh. Hasan Mir, Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, and BJP MLA from Delhi Harsh Vardhan.

A member of the Awards Committee, Kapilas Vatsyayan, was also recommended for a Padma. She was backed by the Union Ministry of Culture, the Sangeet Natak Akademi, and Padma Vibhushan awardee M.G.K. Menon. She did not get in — for the obvious reason that she would have had to recommend herself.

Actor Rahul Bose, recommended by Mr. Gopal Krishna Gandhi, was another prominent loser.

Correction

A sentence in the fifth paragraph of the above report said that Bikas Chandra Sinha was conferred the Padma Vibhushan for Science and Engineering. It should have been the Padma Bhushan.

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