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 Rajinikant 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 148 hopefuls for this year's Padma awards, the sources said.
From the sports world, the names of hockey team captain Sardara Singh, badminton player PV Sindhu, chess grandmaster Sasikiran Krishnan, wrestler Sushil Kumar, his coach Satpal and Arunima Sinha - the first women amputee mountaineer to climb Mount Everest – are being considered.
Renowned economist Bibek Debroy, who is also a member of NITI Aayog, journalist and India TV chairperson Rajat Sharma, Swapan Dasgupta, Hari Shankar Vyas, late actor Pran have also been nominated for the award.
Former bureaucrats whose names figure in the list are former chief election commissioner N Gopalaswami, KS Bajpai, PV Rajaraman. Agriculture economist Ashok Gulati, senior lawyers Harish Salve, KK Venugopal and constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap.
HCL chairman and business tycoon Shiv Nadar, YK Hamid of Cipla and TV Mohandas Pai (formerly of Infosys) have also made it to the list.
From art and culture, the recipients include A Kanyakumari (Carnatic violinist), Girija Devi (Hindustani vocalist), L Subramaniam (musician), Malini Awasthi (folk singer), Smriti Biswas (actor), Sudha Raghunathan (Carnatic vocalist), music directors Anu Malik and Ravindra Jain and Assamese film director Jahnu Barua.
Following the recent space mission successes, two scientists from ISRO, S Arunan of MOM, and S K Shivkumar of Chandrayaan, will also be felicitated. Chewang Norphel, popularly known as iceman who built artificial glaciers in Ladakh, Jadav Molai Peyang (tribal environmentalist), Neil Herbert Nonkynrih of the famous Shillong Choir, Manoj Das (Oriya writer) also figure in the list.
The list also includes a large number of religious leaders - late Syedna Mohd Burhanuddin (Dawoodi Bohra community), Theg Tse Rinpoche (Tawang monastery), Shivakumara Swami (head of Shree Siddaganga Mutt, Tumkur), Jagatguru Ramanandacharya Swami Rambhadracharya (Tulsi Peeth) and Swami Satyamitranand Giri (Samanvaya Kutir at Haridwar).
However, no official announcement has been made in this regard yet.
Reacting to media speculation on likely recipients of Padma awards, BJP spokesman GVL Narsimha Rao today said, “ Names mentioned in media reports for Padma awards are of very honourable persons, we should wait for official announcement in this regard.”
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was also quoted as saying to ANI, “The govt has not yet announced Padma Awards for 2015. These awards are announced on 25th of January every year, on the eve of the Republic Day.”
“The names appearing in the media are speculative and there is no official confirmation for the same,” MHA was quoted as saying by the ANI.