Congress leaders Kapil Sibal and Anand Sharma, on Wednesday, congratulated veteran leader Ghulam Nabi Azad for being conferred with the Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award.
In his congratulatory tweet, senior lawyer and former Union Minister Kapil Sibal called it "ironic" that Congress doesn't need his services when the nation recognizes his contributions to public life.
"Ghulam Nabi Azad conferred Padam Bhushan. Congratulations bhaijan. Ironic that the Congress doesn't need his services when the nation recognizes his contributions to public life," Sibal said.
Calling the award a "well-deserved recognition", Congress leader and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, Anand Sharma, tweeted, "Heartiest congratulations to Ghulam Nabi ji for well-deserved recognition of his lifelong enriching contribution to public service and Parliamentary democracy."
Azad's name in the Padma award list evoked mixed reactions from party colleagues
It is worth mentioning that Azad has been the target of the Gandhi family loyalists as he led the group of 23 leaders (G-23), and wrote a strongly worded letter to Sonia Gandhi seeking sweeping reforms in the party.
Rumors of Azad changing his bio on Twitter after he was conferred the Padma Bhushan were also making rounds, to which the veteran leader came up with the clarification that it is a "mischievous propaganda" to create confusion.
"Some mischievous propaganda being circulated by some people to create confusion. Nothing has been removed or added to my Twitter profile. The profile is as it was earlier," Azad tweeted.
Azad was elected to Rajya Sabha for five terms and twice to Lok Sabha. He contested the Washim Lok Sabha seat from Maharashtra's Washim in 1980.
His Rajya Sabha term ended on February 16, 2021. An emotional bid adieu was given to the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha.
Lauding the senior Congress leader's contribution to the causes dear to him, the Prime Minister said, "The person who will replace Ghulam Nabi ji (as Leader of Opposition) will have difficulty matching his work because he was not only concerned about his party but also about the country and the House."