Noted writer Gita Mehta, who is also the elder sister of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, on Saturday declined to accept the Padma Shri award.
Mehta said the timing of the award was questionable as the general election was set to take place and the award may cause embarrassment both to the Odisha government and her.
"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 (it) 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," said Mehta in a press statement from New York.
Mehta had been selected for the Padma Shri in the 'Foreigners' category for her outstanding contribution to the field of art and literature.
Mehta has authored books like 'Karma Cola' (1979), 'Raj' (1989), 'A River Sutra' (1993), 'Snakes and Ladders: Glimpses of Modern India' (1997) and 'Eternal Ganesha: From Birth to Rebirth' (2006).
She has also produced and or directed 14 documentaries.
Odisha will face both general and Assembly elections in April-May this year. The BJP and BJD are trying hard to edge out each other in the state.
On Friday, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who was in Odisha, alleged that Naveen Patnaik was "a junior partner" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
During his last three visits to Odisha, though Modi attacked the state government, he did not name Patnaik.