Gita Mehta Declining Padma Shri An Insult To Nation: BJP

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Bhubaneswar: The BJP on Saturday took strong exception to Gita Mehta turning down the Padma Shri award.

“No one should reject the national award as it is an insult to the nation. It is up to Mehta whether to accept the award or not. But it is not right if she has refused the award apprehending that it would affect the political career of her brother (Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik).

“It was not expected of a writer of international repute for refusing the award outright,” BJP state general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan said in a statement here.

Reacting to the BJP leader’s statement, BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb said such deliberations are uncalled for as it is the personal decision of Mehta.

“She should not be unnecessarily dragged into politics on such matters,’ he added.

Gita had declined to accept the Padma Shri within hours of being conferred the highest civilian honour, saying the timing is not right to receive the honour.

In a press statement issued from New York, Mehta said, “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.”

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