NCP chief Sharad Pawar, one of the seven persons selected for Padma Vibhushan, the country’s second highest civilian award, today said the nation has recognised the work he has undertaken in the agriculture sector during his over half-a-century-long political career.
“I am thankful to everybody who has played a role in helping me achieve this award. This award means that the nation has recognised the work I have done in the field of agriculture over the last several decades in my political career,” Pawar, a veteran politician and former Maharashtra Chief Minister told a regional news channel. “The social work done by me in the last 55 years has become meaningful due to this award. I have always tried to bring peace whenever there has been a situation of tension in the nation,” he said.
Shiv Sena and BJP, which are political rivals of the Sharad Pawar-led NCP, welcomed the Centre’s decision to bestow the second highest civilian award on the former Union Minister. Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said, “We welcome the Centre’s decision of nominating him for the award and congratulate him”. “Despite we having political rivalry with him, he is the tallest and the best leader in the co-operative movement and a great agriculturalist,” said Raut, a Rajya Sabha MP.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said, “We do not accept Pawar’s style of working and have difference of opinions in politics and that will continue. But, his contribution in politics and agriculture sector, especially for sugarcane growing farmers over the last 50 years has been commendable”. “By awarding him, the government has shown that it values individuals, irrespective of any political party, who have shown zeal towards the welfare of the nation,” Bhandari added.