While the G-23 leaders congratulated Azad, senior leader Jairam Ramesh took a veiled dig at the party veteran over the award.
Ghulam Nabi Azad is a prominent face of the group of 23 leaders (G-23), who had written a letter to Sonia Gandhi seeking a visible and active leadership as well as sweeping reforms in the Congress.
Congress leaders Kapil Sibal, Anand Sharma and Shashi Tharoor, who are part of the G-23, showered praise on Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Former Union minister Sibal congratulated Azad and also took a dig at the party leadership. “It is “ironic” that Congress doesn’t need the services of Azad when the nation recognizes his contributions to public life,” he said in a tweet.
Ghulam Nabi Azad conferred Padam BhushanCongratulations bhaijan Ironic that the Congress doesn’t need his servi… https://t.co/dG3ndXm8j9
— Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) 1643171393000
Anand Sharma called the award to Azad a “well-deserved recognition for his lifelong enriching contribution to public service and parliamentary democracy.”
Shashi Tharoor also congratulated Azad and said, “It is good to be recognized for one’s public service even by a government of the other side.”
Warm congratulations to Shri @ghulamnazad on his Padma Bhushan. It is good to be recognized for one’s public servic… https://t.co/AvsU8qvQzX
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) 1643123659000
However, not everyone in the Congress seemed to be happy.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh took a veiled dig at Azad after CPM leader and former West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya refused to accept the Padma award.
Responding to a tweet on Bhattacharya’s refusal, Jairam Ramesh said: “Right thing to do. He wants to be Azad not Ghulam.”
Right thing to do. He wants to be Azad not Ghulam. https://t.co/iMWF00S9Ib
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) 1643128880000
The Congress leader also tweeted the response of civil servant PN Haksar when he was told he was being offered the Padma Vibhushan on his leaving the PMO.
“The response is classic, and worthy of emulation,” Jairam Ramesh said in his tweet.
In Jan 1973, the most powerful civil servant of our country was told he was being offered the Padma Vibhushan on hi… https://t.co/U67858jNwM
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) 1643127256000
Meanwhile, Azad, who is yet to react to the award, took to Twitter to slam a “mischievous propaganda” to create confusion after reports emerged that the former J&K chief minister had changed his bio on Twitter after he was conferred the Padma Bhushan.
“Some mischievous propaganda being circulated by some people to create confusion. Nothing has been removed or added to my Twitter profile. The profile is as it was earlier,” Azad tweeted.
Azad was elected to Rajya Sabha for five terms and twice to Lok Sabha.
His Rajya Sabha term ended on February 16, 2021 and the Congress did not nominate him again to the Upper House.
Bidding him adieu from Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said, “The person who will replace Ghulam Nabi ji (as Leader of Opposition) will have difficulty matching his work because he was not only concerned about his party but also about the country and the House.”