Reacting to the Congress objections, Rohit Tilak said that the award was planned a few months ago and both Sharad Pawar and PM Modi had given their consent for the programme. “Not much should be read into the award as it is non-political in nature. In the recent past the award was given to former prime minister Indira Gandhi, A.B. Vajypayee and Manmohan Singh for their contributions to the country.”
“The award was also given to illustrious personalities from the world of science and social work comprising N.R. Narayanmurthy, G. Madhavan, Dr Koti Harinarayan, Cyrus Poonawala and Prakash Amte. Lokmanya Tilak gave the call of Swaraj while PM Modi has given the call of Surajya (good governance)… The award is being given to him for nation building and bringing India onto the world stage,” Rohit Tilak said.
As former National Student Union of India (NSUI) state president, Rohit Tilak had contested Kasba Assembly seat twice on Congress ticket but lost. Speculation has been rife that the Tilak scion might be joining the BJP though he has refuted the speculations.
The Tilak family today is divided between the BJP and the Congress and, sources say, there could be personal pressures on Rohit [for him make this decision].