As the government announced the Padma Bhushan award to senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on the eve of Republic Day, it evoked mixed reactions from his party colleagues. While, Kapil Sibal, Shashi Tharoor and Manish Tewari congratulated him, Jairam Ramesh took a jibe. “Right thing to do. He wants to be Azad not Ghulam, Ramesh tweeted. He also retweeted former West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who declined the Padma Bhushan award.

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Along with Azad, Bhattacharya was also named in the list of awardees. “I don’t know anything about the Padma Bhushan. No one has told me anything about it. If indeed they have given me the Padma Bhushan, then I reject it,” read Bhattacharjee’s statement issued in Bengali. Another senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said: “Congratulations bhaijaan. Ironic that the Congress doesn’t need his services when the nation recognises his contributions to public life.” Manish Tewari tweeted, “I congratulate @ghulamnazad on being conferred the Padma Bhushan for his public Service. It is a well deserved recognition.” Tharoor congratulated the former Jammu and Kashmir CM on being conferred with the Padma award. “Warm congratulations to Shri @ghulamnazad on his Padma Bhushan. It is good to be recognized for one’s public service even by a government of the other side,” his tweeted. Azad is part of the group of 23 which has been critical of the party leadership and wanted a chance at the helm.

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