Seven States accounted for 63% of the Padma Shri Awardees in the last 16 years

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Does political clout & election fever influence the Padma Awards? The data suggests that the number of Padma Shri awards increase by 30% in the election years compared to the average of the preceding 4 non-election years. Data from the last 16 years also indicates that Delhi & Maharashtra alone account for a third of all the Padma Shri awards while Bihar barely had 20 winners, less than 2% of all the awards. Seven states together accounted for 63% of all the Padma Shri awardees in the last 16 years.

In the first part of this series, we looked at the number of Padma Shri awards over the years and various categories of awardees. It was clear that more Padma Shri awards were given in election years compared to other years. This story looks at the last 3 election years (2004, 2009 & 2014) in greater detail to understand if more Padma Shri awards are given meet political goals.

Number of Padma Shri Awards increase by 30% in Election years

Three general elections to the Lok Sabha were held in the last 15 years and in all the three election years, the number of Padma Shri awards were significantly greater than the average of the preceding 4 years.

Election Year Number of Padma Shri Awards in the Election Year Average Number of Padma Shri Awards in the preceding 4 years
2004 74 57
2009 93 66
2014 101 80

In 2004, the number of Padma Shri awardees was 74 while the average for the preceding 4 years was 57. In 2009, 93 Padma Shri awards were given compared to the preceding 4 year average of 66. Even in 2014, 101 Padma Shri awards were given compared to the preceding 4 year average of 80. On average, the number of Padma Shri awards in 2004, 2009 and 2014 was 30% more than the average of the preceding non-election years. 

Padma Shri Awards politics_number of Padma SHri Awards election years vs non election years

Election Year 2004

The BJP led NDA was in power before the 2004 General Elections. Out of the 74 Padma Shri awards given in 2004, 13 awards were given to people from Delhi, 10 each to people from Karnataka & Maharashtra. Six awards were given to people from Kerala, 5 each from Tamil Nadu & Uttar Pradesh. The BJP that was in power in before the 2004 elections did well in both Karnataka & Maharashtra, while it lost badly in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh & Tamil Nadu. In Kerala, the BJP could not win a single constituency. Eventually, the NDA lost the election and the UPA came to power.

Election Year 2009

The Congress led UPA was in power when the Padma awards were announced in 2009. Out of the 93 Padma Shri Awards given in 2009, 16 were given to people from Delhi, 14 to people from Maharashtra, 8 to people from Tamil Nadu, 7 to people from Kerala, 4 awards each to people from Karnataka, West Bengal & Andhra Pradesh. The Congress was in power in Delhi, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, while its ally DMK was in power in Tamil Nadu. In Kerala, the LDF was in power and the Left Front had just withdrawn its support to the UPA government. Not even a single award went to people from Gujarat.

Election Year 2014

The Congress led UPA was in power when the Padma awards were announced in 2014. Out of the 101 Padma Shri Awards, Delhi & Maharashtra took a lion’s share with 21 and 16 awards respectively. 8 awards went to people form Haryana where elections were due a year later. 7 awards went to people from Andhra Pradesh, 6 awards each to people from Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. 5 awards were given to people from Gujarat.

Is Politics playing a role?

While there seems to be no direct link between the election performance and number of awards to people from a particular state, it does seem that the greater political clout at the center plays a significant role in winning these awards. States like Delhi & Maharashtra have won disproportionately higher number of awards compared to the rest of the states. Out of the 1200 odd Padma Shri awards given in the last 16 years, Delhi & Maharashtra account for close to a third of these awards. Add Tamil Nadu, Kerala & Karnataka to the list, the percentage of awardees from these five states crosses the half way mark. A state like Bihar on the other hand had barely 20 winners in the last 16 years.

Padma Shri Awards politics_Number of Padma Shri Awardees from Various States

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