New Delhi: Leader of the Opposition in Lok
Sabha Sushma Swaraj on Friday expressed disappointment over former
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee not getting the Bharat
Ratna this year, saying the BJP was expecting it.
She also said the sanctity of these awards should be
maintained as even some failures have been conferred with the
"When Padma awards were announced, we were in custody.
We expected Bharat Ratna for Atal Bihari Vajpayee," Swaraj
said on twitter today.
She was referring to the announcement of Padma awards on
the eve of Republic Day when Swaraj and her Rajya Sabha
counterpart Arun Jaitley were detained in Jammu while they
were on their way to Lal Chowk in Srinagar to hoist the
BJP has often batted for Vajpayee saying he deserved the
highest civilian award. Senior leader L K Advani had earlier
written a letter to the Prime Minister requesting that
Vajpayee should be awarded the Bharat Ratna for his services
to the nation.
Several senior BJP leaders had then followed suit and
echoed these views.
Swaraj, in an apparent reference to Vajpayee`s Padma
Vibhushan award in 1992 for public affairs, tweeted, "Today a
former Prime Minister is Padma Vibhushan- so is his
Vajpayee`s National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra was
awarded the Padma Vibhushan this year.
Swaraj did not stop at Vajpayee`s case and insisted that
Padma awards were losing their sheen as some people who did
not deserve it had been bestowed with the honour while the
more competent ones were ignored.
"I had recommended Padma Bhushan for Dharmendra. Do you
believe that the veteran actor is not even a Padamshree?" she
She further mentioned that her other recommendation for
a Padma Shri for noted Hindi writer Narendra Kohli was also
"But then Padma list lacks rationale," she tweeted.
"There are definitely some men of achievements. There
are also those who have been honoured for their failures," she
BJP has often cited the case of controversial NRI
hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal, who was awarded a Padma award by
the UPA government, to say some undeserving individuals had
got the awards. Chatwal is facing charges of tax evasion and
failure to repay a huge loan from an Indian public sector
"We must enhance the sanctity of the Padma awards. We
should devise a mechanism to ensure that men of letters are
not ignored," Swaraj tweeted.