New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The factions in the Congress party continued to be on display this time over the Padma Bhushan award conferred upon senior party leader and G-23 member Ghulam Nabi Azad. Shortly after Jairam Ramesh's cryptic tweet targeting Azad, another G-23 member Kapil Sibal came out in his support and said it was ironic that Congress does not need his services when the nation recognises his contributions to public life.

Veteran Congress leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Azad, who was part of the group of 23 who has been critical of the party leadership and has sought an organisational overhaul, has been awarded the Padma Bhushan for his contribution to public affairs.

Sibal, who himself is part of the G-23 faction, not only congratulated Ghulam Nabi Azad for Padma Bhushan but also took a jibe at the Congress party and tweeted "Ghulam Nabi Azad conferred Padam Bhushan. Congratulations bhaijan. Ironic that the Congress doesn't need his services when the nation recognises his contributions to public life".

Another G-23 leader Shashi Tharoor also congratulated Azad. "Warm congratulations to Shri @ghulamnazad on his Padma Bhushan. It is good to be recognized for one's public service even by a government of the other side," Tharoor tweeted.

After the announcement of the Padma awards, Jairam Ramesh taking a cue from the rejection by West Bengal former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya took a jibe at his party colleague Ghulam Nabi Azad, who has also been awarded the Padma Bhushan. Ramesh tweeted on Bhattacharya's refusal to accept the award and wrote, "Right thing to do. He wants to be Azad, not Ghulam."

In a surprise move, the Narendra Modi government on Tuesday conferred the Padma Bhushan to Congress leader, and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad for public affairs. Azad is also a former Union Minister and till recently, was the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.

Meanwhile, 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. 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.The Congress division with reagrds to Azad's award is witness to the internal rift within the party as Azad was one of the leaders who had raised the leadership issue in the party and had demanded organizational elections".

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan