Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's sister Gita Mehta, who was conferred with the Padma Shri for her work in literature and education, has rejected the award announced by the Centre.
Following the announcement on the eve of Republic Day, Mehta said she is refusing the award as the timing of it is not right. "While I'm deeply honoured that the Government of India should think me worthy of a Padma Shri. I feel I must decline as there is a general election looming and the timing of the award might be misconstrued," she said, expressing her regret at her refusal.
According to sources, it has been believed that the BJP has been trying to get Biju Janata Dal's (BJD) support from the last few months, into the NDA. It believes that in case of a hung assembly, the BJP believes that BJD's support may come in handy. And, this award to Patnaik's sister will also be perceived politically. In view of such rumours, Gita Mehta has refused to accept the award.