Union minister Nitin Gadkari’s recent comment on veteran actor Asha Parekh approaching him, demanding the Padma Bhushan Award, has stirred a debate. While many are disappointed, others accept that the culture of lobbying exists.
Veteran actor Farida Jalal says, “I don’t know why he (Nitin Gadkari) would say something like this. I have known Asha ji for long and she is a lovely lady. I have heard that lobbying happens before awards but why would any actor do this? It is an honour and I fail to understand how any actor would try and get an award through the wrong means.”
Last year, yoga guru Baba Ramdev declined Padma Vibhushan award, alleging that a lot of lobbying takes place. Film producer Pritish Nandy says, “The lobbyists rule the roost. A man like Sant Chatwal, who had CBI cases pending against him got the Padma Bhushan. I put in an RTI application and never got a response,” he alleges.
Ad guru Prahlad Kakkar is more direct, “Lobbying has always existed and I know this for a fact. Initially, another minister was the contact person for Bollywood people, now maybe it is Gadkari.”
Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt asks a pertinent question, “Why single out Asha Parekh ji? What about the other times when people lobbied and they gave the award? Why bring light to your credibility and say that this person lobbied us and we did not give the award, what about when you did?”
Says singer Anup Jalota, “Recommending someone’s name for honours can’t be called lobbying. Those in power recognise the ones whom they know and have heard of.”
“I cannot support or deny the existence of lobbying but I just know that it is not a very worthy way to get an award,” says director Imtiaz Ali.
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