Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad awarded Padma Bhushan

New Delhi:  In a surprise move, the Narendra Modi government on Tuesday conferred the Padma Bhushan to Congress leader, and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad for public affairs.

Azad is also a former Union Minister and till recently, was the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.

Hailing from Jammu & Kashmir, he started his political career working as the Secretary for the Block Congress Committee in his hometown Bhalessa in 1973. After two years, he was appointed the President of the Jammu and Kashmir Youth Congress.

In 1980, he was appointed President of the Youth Congress – a coveted post at that time – and was elected to the Lok Sabha from Maharashtra in 1980. He was appointed a junior Minister for Law, Justice and Company Affairs Ministry in 1982.

Parliamentary Affairs and Civil Aviation Minister during the P.V. Narsimha Rao government, he was Urban Development Minister (2004-05) in the first UPA government, J&K Chief Minister from 2005 to 2008, and then Union Health Minister in the UPA-II.