Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party (SP) patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, former Karnataka Chief Minister S M Krishna, Gujarat architect and educationist Balkrishna Doshi, tabla player Zakir Hussain, mathematician S R Srinivasa Vardhan, and ORS treatment pioneer Dilip Mahalanabis have been conferred the Padma Vibhushan this year.
A total of 106 Padma awards have been announced — six Padma Vibhushan, nine Padma Bhushan and 91 Padma Shri.
Among the Padma Bhushan awardees are Sudha Murthy, chairperson of Infosys Foundation and wife of Infosys founder N R Narayana Murthy; industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla; linguistics scholar Kapil Kapoor; Kannada novelist and screenwriter S L Bhyrappa; yesteryear playback singers Vani Jayaram and Suman Kalyanpur; physicist Deepak Dhar, and Telangana spiritual leaders Swami Chinna Jeeyar and Kamlesh D Patel.
The prominent names among Padma Shri awardees include stockbroker Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, Rasna founder Areez Khabatta, former union minister and Manipur BJP president Thounaojam Chaoba Singh, former Tripura minister and Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura president Narendra Chandra Debbarma, RRR music composer M M Keeravani; ghazal singers Ahmed Hussain and Mohd Hussain, and Bollywood actor Raveena Tandon.
Congratulating the recipients, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “India cherishes their rich and varied contributions to the nation and their efforts to enhance our growth trajectory.”
The posthumous Padma Vibhushan to Mulayam would be seen as reaching across the political aisle, and a move that would please the OBC communities in UP. It is significant as the SP was found to have recovered some of its lost ground among OBC voters during the last Assembly elections.
S M Krishna, who joined the BJP in 2017, is a leader of the Vokkaliga community in Karnataka, which is going to polls this year. While the BJP is traditionally associated with the Lingayat community in the state, it is wooing the Vokkaligas to increase its support base.