Bhubaneswar :26/1/19: Gita Mehta, author and sister of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, has declined Padma Shri, country’s fourth highest civilian award, stating that it could cause embarrassment for the government for the timing of selection.
“I am deeply honoured that the Government of India should think me worthy of a Padma Shri but with great regret I feel I must decline as there is a general election looming and the timing of the award might be misconstrued, causing embarrassment both to the government and myself, which I would much regret,” said Ms Mehta in a statement.
She was selected for Padma Shri in the category of literature and education. Ms. Mehta, daughter of legendary leader late Biju Patnaik, is a US citizen. She has written Karma cola, a non-fiction book, A River Sutra, a collection of stories and Raj, a novel.
Biju Janata Dal, headed by his brother Mr. Patnaik, has been maintaining equidistance from Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party. Congress President Rahul Gandhi here on Friday accused the BJD government of being junior partner of BJP-led government at Centre. It is alleged that BJP was trying to woo the regional party in Odisha as the saffron party could require its support in government formation in the event of split verdict in forthcoming general election.