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Padma award controversy continues in West Bengal

Photo used for representation purpose only.

Photo used for representation purpose only.

The controversy over the Padma awards refuses to die down in West Bengal with two artists saying they have refused the awards.

After former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee issued a statement saying he will not accept Padma Bhushan, legendary singer Sandhya Mukherjee and tabla maestro Anindo Chatterjee have said they were approached by the Union Home Ministry for Padma Shri honour but they refused it.

The list for 2022 however did not contain their names.

While the reason for Mr. Bhattacharjee’s refusal may be “political”, the two artists were of the opinion that the award was too late for them at this point of their career.

The family members of nonagenarian singer Sandhya Mukherjee said Padma Shri for the artist was “humiliating”. She was informed over phone by the Central Ministry that she was going to be given the Padma Shri. She is 90 and recorded her first song at the age of 12… at her age, to be awarded a Padma Shri for someone of her stature, we feel is nothing short of an insult. She has already refused it,” her daughter Soumi Sengupta said.

Mr. Chatterjee too told journalists that the award has come too late. “I did not like the manner in which it was being conferred; so I said no to it.”

Among those from the State who were conferred the honour are classical singer Rashid Khan and well-known screen actor Victor Banerjee who were awarded the Padma Bhushan.

War of words

The development has triggered a war of words between political parties.

While the CPI(M) welcomed Mr. Bhattacharjee’s decision saying the party’s “policy has been consistent in declining such awards from the State”,the Trinamool Congress leadership said the Bharatiya Janata Party is trying to win overleft voters.

“The recent rise of the BJP in the State is because of the support of the Left voters. The BJP leadership is trying to say that we have given Padma award to your leader so they should vote for BJP,” TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said.

State BJP leaders said the Trinamool and the CPI(M) see politics in everything including the Padma awards. “There is always an attempt to portray that West Bengal is some place outside the country. The Communists have done that and now the TMC is doing that,” BJP national vice–president Dilip Ghosh said.

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Printable version | May 27, 2022 6:09:57 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/padma-award-controversy-continues-in-west-bengal/article38333591.ece