New Delhi: Days after honouring former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee with Bharat Ratna, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government is reportedly mulling to confer Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award in the country, on former deputy PM Lal Krishna Advani.
According to the Zee Media sources, Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, noted yoga guru Baba Ramdev, southern superstar Rajnikant and Shiromani Akali Dal patron and Chief Minister of Punjab Parkash Singh Badal may also be honoured with Padma awards this year.
Besides the above-mentioned celebrities, Hindi cinema veteran Dilip Kumar, noted film director-producer Sanjay Leela Bhansali, script writer and lyricist Salim Khan and renowned ad film-maker Prasoon Joshi’s names also figures in the list of hopefuls for this year’s Padma awards, the sources said.
Noted Vedic scholar Prof David Frawley’s name is also being considered for the Padma awards, the sources said.
The Sports Ministry has already nominated badminton player Saina Nehwal for a Padma Bhushan as a "special case".
Regarding the controversy over the ace badminton player, the MHA officials had earlier said that the Centre was not dependent on just the Sports Ministry recommendation to give Nehwal a Padma Bhushan.
"There is also a select committee of bureaucrats which makes its own recommendations to the Awards Committee. So Nehwal’s name may already be in the Padma list," a senior MHA official was quoted as saying.
In any case, the committee will have to make an exception to confer the award on Nehwal because she got a ’Padma Sri’ in 2010 and has not completed the five-year stipulated gap to get the next highest Padma award.
As per rules, the panel can make a relaxation only "in deserving cases". However, a formal decision and announcement by the Narendra Modi government is still awaited.