Former West Bengal chief minister and veteran CPI-M leader Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, on Tuesday, refused to accept the Padma Bhushan award conferred upon him by the Centre on the eve of 73rd Republic Day.

Bhattacharya was given the award for his contribution to the field of Public Affairs.

 “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,” Buddhadeb Bhattacharya said in a statement.

Minutes later, CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechuri confirmed the statement of Buddhadeb Bhattacharya.

77-year-old Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, who is suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), hardly gets out of his house for the past few years now.

Even during last year’s Assembly polls in Bengal, the veteran leader did not campaign for his party. He was hospitalized twice in the last six months.

According to sources in the CPI-M, the party “does not believe in such awards” and hence the CPI-M as well as Buddhadeb Bhattacharya has decided to refuse it.

“Earlier, the name of another former Chief Minister of West Bengal and CPI-M stalwart, Jyoti Basu, was proposed for the Bharat Ratna by then UPA government, but Basu also refused the award as Communists do not believe in these types of awards. Buddhadeb Bhattacharya also did the same. It was expected of him,” said a CPI (M) leader.

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