Rajesh Khanna shortlisted for Padma Vibhushan

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Rajesh Khanna shortlisted for Padma Vibhushan

A high – level committee on Wednesday met to shortlist names for the Padma awards amid indications that the late Rajesh Khanna, director of ‘Sholay’ fame Ramesh Sippy and singer Kailash Kher may be honoured with the prestigious awards on the eve of the 2013 Republic Day.

While the name of Khanna, who passed away on July 18, has been shortlisted for the Padma Vibhushan ( the highest category among the Padma awards ), Sippy and Kher have been recommended for Padma Shri.

The committee, which included cabinet secretary Ajit Seth, principal secretary to the PM Pulok Chatterjee, home secretary R K Singh, actor Ratna Pathak Shah and scientist Anil Kakodkar, shortlisted these names.

The names of awardees will be declared on January 25 after the approval of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Names of Khanna, Sippy and Kher were recommended by the ministry of information and broadcasting.

Though the Padma awards are normally not conferred posthumously, there are indications that the government will consider Khanna’s case as “highly deserving” and confer Padma Vibhushan on him by making an exception.

The government had made such an exception in the past. Music director and singer Bhupen Hazarika, who had passed away last year, was conferred with Padma Vibhushan posthumously in 2012.

Incidentally, Khanna, who was a Congress MP from New Delhi from 1992 to 1996, was never given the Padma award in his lifetime whereas most of his contemporaries got one or the other category of Padma award in different years.

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