Political leaders George Fernandes, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and Kannada spiritual icon Sri Vishveshateertha Swami of Pejavar Matt were chosen for the second-highest civilian award Padma Vibhushan posthumously on Saturday on the eve of Republic Day.
The government also decided to honour former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar with Padma Bhushan posthumously, as it chose to remember the contributions of late BJP leaders former Finance Minister Jaitley, former External Affairs Minister Swaraj as well as former Defence Minister Fernandes.
Besides Fernandes and the Pejavar seer, eight persons MP from Karnataka -- Ganesh (Sports), Dr Bangalore Gangadhar (Medicine), Bharat Goenka (Trade and Industry), Tulasi Gowda (Social Work), Harekala Hajabba (Social Work), KV Sampath Kumar and Jayalakshmi KS (Literature/Education-Journalism) and Vijay Sankeshwar (Trade and Industry) -- were chosen for Padma Sri awards.
President Ram Nath Kovind approved conferment of 141 Padma Awards, including 4 duo cases (in a duo case, the award is counted as one). Of this, 34 are women while 12 are posthumous awardees. 'Padma Vibhushan' is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service, 'Padma Bhushan' for distinguished service of high order and 'Padma Shri' for distinguished service in any field.
Former Mauritius Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth GSCK, boxer and Rajya Sabha MP Mary Kom and Hindustani musician from Varanasi Chhannulal Mishra were also among the seven Padma Vibhushan winners.
Apart from Parrikar, there were 15 other Padma Bhushan winners, including business tycoon Anand Mahindra, spiritual leader Sri M and shuttler P V Sindhu. Another interesting choice for Padma Bhushan was PDP leader Muzaffar Baig from Jammu and Kashmir, who had faced criticism for attending a meeting with a delegation of European Union MPs after scrapping of state's special status.
Renowned architect Balkrishna Doshi, former Nagaland Chief Minister S C Jamir and legal luminary N R Madhava Menon were also chosen for Padma Bhushan.
There are 118 Padma Sri awards this time and it included cricketer Zaheer Khan and cine personalities Karan Johar, Ekta Kapoor, Kangana Ranaut and Adnan Sami.
Besides Khan, other Padma Sri winners from the sports world were footballer Oinam Bembem Devi, shooter Jitu Rai, archer Tarundeep Rai and hockey player Rani Rampal.
From the art world, iconic Sri Lankan dancer Chitrasena Vajira, classical singers Bombay Sisters (Lalitha and Saroja Chidambaram) and prominent Sattriya dancer Indira P P Bora were among the Padma Sri winners.