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Govt rejects Arnab Goswami, MS Dhoni for Padma Awards

NEW DELHI: Names of former cricket captain M S Dhoni, tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, anchor and journalist Arnab Goswami, controversial spiritual leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and over 18,000 other recommendations for Padma awards were rejected by the government this year.

The long list of prominent politicians, celebrities, sports persons and social activists was made public by the Home Ministry after 89 personalities were selected for the prestigious awards on the eve of Republic Day.

Names of actor and Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachchan, filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra, actor Manoj Bajpayee, late air hostess Neerja Bhanot, who was killed during a hijack in 1986, were recommended for the Padma award but they did not make it to the final list.

BJD MP Baijayant Panda, sarod player Ayaan Ali Bangash, founder Director General of National Investigation Agency late Radha Vinod Raju, music composer Anu Malik, Indian classical musician Ghulam Mustafa Waris Khan and Hindustani classical vocalist Pt Ajay Pohankar were also recommended for the Padma award but their names were not considered.

Among the other nominees who did not make it were archer Dola Banerjee, former Olympic champion and shooter Abhinav Bindra, badminton player Jwala Gutta, singer Sonu Nigam, actor Sridevi Kapoor, media personality Pritish Nandy and fashion designer Rohit Bal.

This year the President has approved conferment of Padma Awards to 89 persons which include 7 Padma Vibhushan, 7 Padma Bhushan and 75 Padma Shri Awardees.

As many as 19 of the awardees are women and the list also includes 5 persons from the category of foreigners, NRIs, PIOs and 6 Posthumous awardees.

Among those who were named for the awards this year include NCP chief Sharad Pawar, senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, former Lok Sabha Speaker late P A Sangma, singer K J Yesudas, wrestler Sakshi Malik and gymnast Dipa Karmakar.

The awards search committee, comprised the Cabinet Secretary, Secretary to the President, Additional Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Home Secretary, actor Waheeda Rehman, journalist and MP Dr Harivansh, political analyst S Gurumurthy, and badminton player turned coach Pullela Gopichand among others.

The Padma awards will be conferred to the awardees at a special function to be held at Rashtrapati Bhavan on March 30.