Maharashtra makes a big contribution towards the country and the world in different sectors, but the state has received "only six" Padma awards this year, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said on Tuesday.
Talking to reporters here, Raut said "at least 10 to 12 persons from Maharashtra" should have been honoured with the awards this year.
The awards are given in three categories -- Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri.
They are given for distinguished and exceptional achievements and service in different fields and disciplines such as art, literature and education, sports, medicine, social work, science and engineering, public affairs, civil service, trade and industry.
The Union Home Ministry on Monday said that President Ram Nath Kovind has approved conferment of 119 Padma awards -- seven Padma Vibhushan, 10 Padma Bhushan and 102 Padma Shri.
Rajnikant Shroff, Sindhutai Sapkal, Girish Prabhune, Namdeo Kamble, Parshuram Gangawane and Jaswantiben Popat are the award winners from Maharashtra this year.
Shroff has been awarded the Padma Bhushan in the field of trade and industry.
The other five are the Padma Shri award winners.
"Six persons from Maharashtra have been named for the Padma awards. We are all surprised. Maharashtra is so big. It makes a big contribution towards the country and the world in different sectors," said Raut, whose party is currently in power in the state along with the NCP and Congress.
The Covid-19 vaccine, because of which Prime Minister Narendra Modi or the Centre "can hold their heads high" in the world, is manufactured in Maharashtra, he said, apparently referring to the 'Covishield' vaccine being manufactured at the Serum Institute of India in Pune.
"Such a state has received only six Padma awards...we felt at least 10 to 12 persons from Maharashtra should have been honoured," Raut said.
Maharashtra will have to take note if "injustice" is meted to it in any way, the Rajya Sabha member said.
Asked about the announcement of the Padma Vibhushan award for former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, Raut quipped that the honour may have been bestowed on Abe for giving bullet train to India "which Maharashtra has rejected".
During Abe's regime, Japan had extended a soft loan for the ambitious Rs 1.10 lakh crore bullet train project, connecting Mumbai to Ahmedabad in Gujarat.
Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant also hit out at the Centre over the issue.
In a statement, Sawant said the state government had recommended 99 names from different fields to the Centre for the Padma awards.
"But only one of those (Sapkal) has been considered by the Centre. This is very unfortunate. Are only those who are close to the RSS eligible for the awards?" Sawant wondered.
The Maharashtra government had recommended the Padma Bhushan award for Sapkal, but she has been named for the Padma Shri award, Sawant said.