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Ex-Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharya refuses Padma Bhushan award

Kolkata, Jan 25 (IANS) Former Chief Minister of West Bengal, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, on Tuesday refused to accept the Padma Bhushan award conferred upon him by the government of India on the eve of the country's 73rd Republic Day.

Bhattacharya was given the award for his contribution in the field of Public Affairs.

A statement issued by the veteran CPI-M leader read: "I don't know anything about the Padma Bhushan award, nobody told me about it. If I were awarded the Padma Bhushan, I would reject it."

Minutes later, CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechuri confirmed the statement.

Bhattacharya, 77, who is suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), hardly gets out of his house for the past few years now. Even during last year's Assembly polls in Bengal, the veteran leader did not campaign for his party. He was hospitalised twice in the last six months.

According to sources in the CPI-M, the party "does not believe in such awards" and hence the CPI-M as well as Bhattacharya has decided to refuse it.

A senior CPI-M leader said, "Earlier, the name of another former Chief Minister of West Bengal and CPI-M stalwart, Jyoti Basu, was proposed for the Bharat Ratna by then UPA government, but Basu also refused the award as Communists do not believe in these types of awards. Buddhadeb Bhattacharya also did the same. It was expected of him."