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The government rejected proposals to confer Padma awards to a clutch of prominent personalities, including cricketer MS Dhoni, controversial spiritual leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and tabla maestro Zakir Hussain.
Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar and veteran BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, who were awarded the country's second-highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan, were not on the initial list of nomination, the newspaper said.
Officials told  that the two were awarded under the "public affairs" category, which falls under the government's discretion, but didn't mention who nominated them.
Other prominent personalities whose names were turned down include Biju Janata Dal MP Baijayant Panda, music composer Anu Malik and journalist Arnab Goswami. The home ministry didn't cite reasons for rejecting the names.
The Padma awards are expected to be conferred by the President at



ceremonial functions held at Rashtrapati Bhavan later this year. This year, President Pranab Mukherjee approved Padma awards for 89 recipients, including seven Padma Vibhushan, seven Padma Bhushan and 75 Padma Shri awards.
The repots said the maximum nominations were received for Singh, the controversial chief of the influential Dera Sacha Sauda who has also starred in three movies.
Airhostess Neerja Bhanot, who was killed during a hijack in 1986, was nominated by BJP MP from Chandigarh Kirron Kher. A biopic on the airhostess, starring Sonam Kapoor, was released last year.
The search committee, set up to screen the nominations, comprised the cabinet secretary, secretary to the President, additional principal secretary to the prime minister, home secretary, actor Waheeda Rehman, journalist and MP Dr Harivansh; political analyst S Gurumurthy; and, badminton player turned coach Pullela Gopichand among others.

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