'I feel I must decline as there is a general election looming and the timing of the award might be misconstrued, causing embarrassment both to the government and myself, which I would much regret,' Gita Mehta said.
Novelist Gita Mehta, who is also Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's elder sister, has declined the Padma Shri award citing the timing of the awards, which comes just ahead of the general election in India, might be misconstrued.
Mehta, 76, was selected for the coveted honour in the Literature and Education category.
'I am deeply honoured that the Government of India should think me worthy of a Padma Shri but with great regret I feel I must decline as there is a general election looming and the timing of the award might be misconstrued, causing embarrassment both to the government and myself, which I would much regret,' Mehta said in a statement.
Naveen Patnaik refused to comment on his sister's decision, but congratulated all those who have been conferred with the national civilian honours.
The home ministry on Friday announced the names of 112 recipients of the Padma awards on the eve of the country's 70th Republic Day.
Mehta has written several books including Karma Cola, Raj, Snakes and Ladders: Glimpses of Modern India and Eternal Ganesha: From Birth to Rebirth.
She has also produced and directed 14 documentaries. She served briefly as a war correspondent for the NBC television network.
Gita Mehta is married to Ajai Singh 'Sonny' Mehta, arguably the most influential publisher in the publishing world.
The Padma awards are conferred in three categories: Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri, the second, third and fourth highest civilian awards of the country respectively, only after the Bharat Ratna.
This year's awardees comprise 4 Padma Vibhushan, 14 Padma Bhushan and 94 Padma Shri recipients.