Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy on Tuesday revoked an order to drop former President APJ Abdul Kalam’s name from a students’ award and instead name it after his father, former Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy, ANI reported. He reinstated Kalam’s name following severe criticism from the Opposition.
YS Rajasekhara Reddy, a popular Congress leader, served as the chief minister of the undivided Andhra Pradesh two times. He died in a plane crash in 2009. On Monday, the state had issued a government order declaring that the APJ Abdul Kalam Pratibha Puraskar would be renamed “YSR Vidya Puraskar” from 2019.
The awards are handed out on National Education Day on November 11 to six students from each mandal or tehsil. Those who get the highest scores in Class 10 examinations are awarded merit certificates, a memento and scholarships for higher education.
The awards, initially known as the Pratibha awards were renamed in 2017 by Reddy’s predecessor N Chandrababu Naidu.
“Dr Kalam has accomplished much for the nation with his pioneering work and inspiring life,” Naidu said. “Jagan’s government changing ‘APJ Abdul Kalam Pratibha Puraskar’ to ‘YSR Vidya Puraskar’ is a shocking method of self-aggrandizement at the cost of disrespecting a much venerated man. Shameful!!”
Andhra Pradesh BJP spokesperson Dinakar Lanka said this showed the arrogance in the decisions of the state government, according to News18. “It is the best example of how the names of the nation’s real heroes are suppressed and replaced with those of the kith and kin of people from dynasty politics,” he said.
Since coming to power following the Assembly elections in May, Jaganmohan Reddy has renamed several schemes. He also faced criticism after a village building was painted in his party’s colours.