Hyderabad: In major embarrassment for Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy, the Andhra Pradesh government was on Tuesday forced to withdraw an order to rename the ‘APJ Abdul Kalam Pratibha Puraskar Awards’ after the CM’s father, the late YSR Reddy, following sharp criticism from the opposition.
The order issued on Monday had said that the award would be renamed ‘YSR Vidya Puraskar’. The award is presented to meritorious Class 10 students on November 11, celebrated as National Education Day on the eve of Moulana Abul Kalam Azad’s birth anniversary. The best performing students are awarded merit certificates, a memento and scholarships to meet higher education costs.
Andhra Pradesh Government redesignates "Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Pratibha Puraskar Awards" as "YSR Vidya Puraskars" from 2019 onwards, for distribution on the occasion of National Education Day (birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad), on 11th November. pic.twitter.com/f0SLE7rYm7 — ANI (@ANI) November 5, 2019
The award was earlier known as ‘Prathibha Awards’, but the name was changed to honour former president and ‘missile man of India’ APJ Abdul Kalam by the Chandrababu Naidu government in 2017.
Lashing out at Jagan for renaming the award, Naidu tweeted on Tuesday that the move was a “shocking method of self-aggrandizement”. “Dr. Kalam has accomplished much for the nation with his inspiring life. @ysjagan ’s govt 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. #YSRCPInsultsAbdulKalam,” Naidu tweeted. Local BJP leaders also termed the move an insult to Kalam. “This shows the arrogance in the decisions of the Andhra government. 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,” Andhra BJP spokesperson Dinakar Lanka told News18. Senior BJP leader Amit Malviya used the opportunity to target the Congress, the party Jagan left to float his own after YSR Reddy’s demise. It is not surprising that Jagan thinks his late father was a more accomplished scientist and academic than Bharat Ratna Dr A P J Abdul Kalam. After all he comes from a party, which named every award, scheme, stadium, road, airport etc, after members of the Nehru-Gandhi family...” Malviya said. Following the opposition criticism and outrage on social media, the Andhra Pradesh government rescinded the order, with sources telling News18 that the previous order was issue without approval from the CM. “Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy has ordered to immediately cancel the concerned GO (Government Order). He further ordered to reinstate the name of 'Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Pratibha Puraskar Awards',” ANI reported.