Shimla: One of the most successful politicians of free India and the tallest leader from Himachal Pradesh, late Sh. Virbhadra Singh has again been overlooked for the prestigious Padma Vibhushan award.

Virbhadra Singh (23 June 1934 – 8 July 2021) holds the distinction of being the longest-serving Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, being the office bearer for record six terms.

Scion of the erstwhile state of Bushehar, he was elected nine times as the Member of the Legislative Assembly to the Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha and five times as the Member of Parliament to the Lok Sabha.

He entered electoral politics in 1962 and remained active in National and State politics until his death in 2021. At the time of his demise, Virbhadra Singh was serving as an MLA from the Arki constituency in the state.

The ignorance of top leaders of Himachal Pradesh is not limited to Virbhadra Singh alone.

Another eminent politician from Himachal Pradesh, Dr Yashwant Singh Parmar has also been ignored for the distinguished civilian award by both parties in the Centre. Parmar, considered the founder of Himachal Pradesh, was a freedom fighter and the first Chief Minister of the state.

What are Padma Awards?

The Padma Award, instituted in 1954, is one of the highest civilian honours of India announced annually on the eve of Republic Day.

The Awards are given in three categories – Padma Vibhushan (for exceptional and distinguished service), Padma Bhushan (distinguished service of higher order) and Padma Shri (distinguished service).

Who gets Padma Awards?

The award seeks to recognize achievements in all fields of activities or disciplines where an element of public service is involved.

Who recommends for Padma Awards?

The Padma Awards are conferred on the recommendations made by the Padma Awards Committee, which is constituted by the Prime Minister every year.

The Padma Awards Committee is headed by the Cabinet Secretary and includes Home Secretary, Secretary to the President and four to six eminent persons as members. The recommendations of the committee are submitted to the Prime Minister and the President of India for approval.

The nomination process is open to the public. Even self-nomination can be made.