‘Ramdev never figured in Padma awardees list’

New Delhi: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday clarified that yoga guru Baba Ramdev was never on the Padma Awardees list and that his denial letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh for the award was based only on media reports.

In an interview to a leading daily, a senior Home Ministry official clarified that Ramdev was never considered for the Padma awards this year.

“His name was not on the list and did not feature at any earlier stage of discussions,” the senior official said.

The official also claimed Singh had personally called up 7-8 personalities informing them about government’s decision to confer the Padma Vibhushan, country’s second highest civilian award, on them and that the yoga guru was not among those who were called by the minister.

Meanwhile, an aide of Ramdev questioned why the government never denied the reports in media stating that the former refused to accept the award. He, however, admitted that the government never officially communicated anything to Ramdev regarding the award.

An undated letter written by Ramdev to Singh was quoted by the media last Saturday, in which Ramdev said he had “learnt from media” that the government wanted to give him a Padma Vibhushan.

“I thank the Centre for this. I am a sanyasi and I consider it my sacred duty to work selflessly towards my sanyas dharma, along with rashtra dharma and seva dharma. I want to request you to confer this honour to any other great personality,” Ramdev had written to Singh.

“The letter was promptly faxed to the Home Ministry on Saturday,” Ramdev’s aide said.

The Union Minister had spoken to Amitabh Bacchhan, L K Advani and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar informing them of the decision. However, Ravi Shankar declined it, saying “someone else should be given the honour.”

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