New Delhi: Renowned writer Gita Mehta has declined to accept the Padma Shri award conferred on her on the eve of Republic Day.
Mehta is the elder sister of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The writer of international repute said in a statement that the timing of the award might be ‘misconstrued’ as the Lok Sabha elections are round the corner.
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”.
Worthwhile to note that the Padma Awards are regarded as the highest civilian awards of the land. These awards come under three categories such as Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri.