IANS

The internal rift in the Congress party has surfaced again after party's senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad was conferred Padma Bhushan award while the G-23 leaders are in congratulatory note to the former Rajya Sabha leader of opposition, there has been no reaction from the party compelling Kapil Sibal to criticise over silence.

Deputy leader of Congress in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma tweeted, "Heartiest congratulations to Ghulam Nabi ji for well deserved recognition of his lifelong enriching contribution to public service and Parliamentary democracy."

Manish Tewari, MP, too wished him. "I congratulate Ghulam Nabi Azad on being conferred the Padma Bhushan for his public Service. It is a well deserved recognition."

Raj Babbar also congratulated him, "Congratulations @ghulamnazad Sahab! You're like an elder brother and your impeccable public life & commitment to Gandhian ideals have always been an inspiration. The #PadmaBhushan is an ideal recognition of 5 decades of your meticulous service to the nation."

Incidentally all the three leaders -- Sharma, Babbar, Tewari and Kapil Sibal are part of the group that wrote letter to Sonia Gandhi for an effective leadership and demanded party reforms. However, the silence in the Congress setup indicates that party is unhappy over the new development.

Though there has been no official reaction from Azad except thank you messages to tweets, he did tweet when news circulated that he has changed his Twitter bio, "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."

The Congress seems divided on the Padma Bhushan award conferred to its leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. Party leader Kapil Sibal has come in open support of Azad after cryptic tweets by Jairam Ramesh.

Sibal tweeted, "Ghulam Nabi Azad conferred Padam Bhushan, Congratulations bhaijan, Ironic that the Congress doesn't need his services when the nation recognises his contributions to public life".

After the announcement of Padma awards, Jairam Ramesh taking a cue from the rejection by West bengal former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, took a dig at his party colleague Ghulam Nabi Azad, who has also been awarded the Padma Bhushan.

Ramesh tweeted on Bhattacharya's refusal to accept the award: "Right thing to do. He wants to be Azad not Ghulam."

The comment was indirectly aimed at his party colleague Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was conferred the Padma Bhushan in the field of Public Affairs.

Azad is also a former Union minister and till recently, he was the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha. Azad was one of the first in the Congress to stoke the leadership issue in the party.

Former Chief Minister of West Bengal, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, on Tuesday refused to accept the Padma Bhushan award conferred upon him by the government of India.

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