The Sports Ministry has recommended Saina Nehwal's name for the Padma Bhushan award, after all. The Indian badminton star had earlier expressed anger at not being nominated for the award.
In a press statement on Monday, the Ministry said Saina's recommendation was a "special case". Earlier, Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had told NDTV that the Badminton Association of India did not apply for Saina's award on time. The BAI has contradicted this.
BAI clarified that what the minister received on Saturday was a copy of the application they had sent to the ministry last year. BAI president Akhilesh Dasgupta said he had directed his office to resend a copy when he had come to know that the ministry hadn't received the original letter. "Our recommendation was sent on August 9. We also have an acknowledgment from the sports ministry for it," Dasgupta said.
The release said: "The Ministry has since received the nomination of Ms. Saina Nehwal for Padma Bhushan on 3rd January, 2015 from Badminton Association of India. In view of the achievements of Ms. Saina Nehwal, the Department of Sports has decided to recommend her case for Padma Bhushan to the Ministry of Home Affairs as a special case although the last date for making the recommendation is long over."
The Ministry also clarified that it had not received any nomination in respect of Saina last year either. So the question of Department of Sports intimating Saina that her nomination for Padma Bhushan was not recommended to the Ministry of Home Affairs in 2013, as there has to be a gap of 5 years between two Padma Awards, does not arise.
A delighted Saina told the media on Monday. "I am thankful to Sonowal sir for recommending my name. People, who deserve these awards, should be considered."