On the night of Republic Day, 109 individuals were selected for the prestigious Padma awards, including late Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, famous architect BV Doshi, and tabla master Zakir Hussain.
The second-highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan, was given to Krishna, Yadav, late Doshi, and Hussain, as well as ORS pioneer Dilip Mahalanabis (posthumously) and Indian-American mathematician Srinivas Varadhan.
Distinguished author S L Bhyrappa and philanthropist and wife of Infosys founder NR Narayanamurthy, Sudha Murthy, both from Karnataka, were picked for the Padma Bhushan, while four other individuals were chosen for the Padma Shri.
Along with Khadar Valli Dudekula (science and engineering), Rani Machaiah, P Munivenkatappa, Shah Rasheed Ahmed Qadri, and S Subbaraman, other Karnataka residents who received Padma Shri awards were: Thamata exponent P Munivenkatappa, Bidri craft exponent Shah Rasheed Ahmed Qadri, and archaeologist S Subbaraman.
Eight people in all from Karnataka were chosen to get Padma awards. The choice of Krishna, a former governor and minister of external affairs who left the Congress to join the BJP, comes as Karnataka prepares for elections, and political observers tried to interpret it as an effort by the Narendra Modi government to court the Vokkaligga community ahead of Assembly elections.
The government also awarded the Padma Shri posthumously to Indigenous People Front of Tripura (IPFT) founder Narendra Chandra Debbarma from a different Tripura that is awaiting elections and is a BJP ally. Thounaojam Chaoba Singh, the BJP president of Manipur, was also a candidate for the Padma Shri.
On Wednesday night, 106 awards totaling 109 recipients were announced, including seven honorees who passed away. These honours comprised six Padma Vibhushans, nine Padma Bhushans, and 91 Padma Shris.
Along with Bhyrappa and Murthy, other individuals honoured with the Padma Bhushan include industrialist Kumaramangalam Birla, well-known singers Vani Jayaram and Suman Kalyanour, spiritual authorities Kamlesh D. Patel and Swami Chinna Jeeyar, theoretical physicist Deepak Dhar, and educator Kapil Kapoor.
MM Keerawani, a music composer whose Naatu Naatu song from the film RRR won the Golden Globe and received an Oscar nomination, film actor Raveena Tandon, Ritwick Sanyal, a retired drupad maestro from Banaras Hindu University, and the late investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala are among the Padma Shri winners.
19 of the 106 recipients of awards are women, while two are foreigners or NRIs. The President has given his approval for the presentation of 106 Padma Awards in 2023, including three pair cases. Seven of the honorees have passed away.