In what can be only described as a truly shocking move, Andhra Pradesh CM Jagan Reddy has stroked a massive controversy by renaming an award scheme named after former President of India, late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, and replacing it with his father, former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajsekhar Reddy’s name.
The state education department had issued an Order to the effect that ‘Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Pratibha Vidya Puraskar Awards’, would henceforth be known as ‘YSR Vidya Puraskar’. The award is given to Class X students for outstanding academic performance in their Board examinations. The award is presented on November 11, that is celebrated as the National Education Day on the eve of Moulana Abul Kalam Azad’s birth anniversary. It consists of a merit certificate, a memento and scholarships for meeting the cost of higher education.
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 in the year 2017, the previous Chandrababu Naidu government prefixed it with the name of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, one of the most adored and respected leaders of Modern India, who was popular called the ‘Missile Man of India’. On account of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s popularity as a personality of national importance in general and his tireless efforts towards promoting the cause of children’s education in particular, make him the natural choice when it comes to constituting an award for meriotious children.
In such circumstances what Jagan Reddy did was bound to invite widespread criticism and outrage. Leaders from across party lines went after him for this move which was obviously considered insulting towards the “People’s President.” Former Andhra Chief Minister, Chandrababu Naidu tweeted, “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.”
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 pic.twitter.com/7lPaZddNZF
— N Chandrababu Naidu (@ncbn) November 5, 2019
Amit Malviya, In-charge of BJP’s National Information & Technology, also mounted an attack on the Jagan Reddy government over this preposterous move. Taking to Twitter, he said, “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…”
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… https://t.co/4AyjTsl894
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) November 5, 2019
The reprehensible decision taken by the YSRCP government invited massive outrage from several Twitter users. The Jagan Reddy couldn’t withstand this outrage for long and finally succumbed to this outrage. Going into damage control mode, Andhra CM ordered the cancellation of the government Order renaming the award, and also ordered reinstatement of ‘Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Pratibha Vidya Puraskar Awards’.
Shame on AP govt. keeping his father's name in front of the Great Scientist,President Dr.APJ
— Ashish Panchdhar (@__iamashish__) November 5, 2019
This is so pathetic! There's no comparison at all! Hands Down there're hardly anyone of APJ's generation who deserve an Edu Award names after then.#Shame
— The Onlooker 🧐 (@PhaniPrasad) November 5, 2019
Same as Congress named every road, institutions, airports in Gandhis name now this insane CM renaming everything to his father's name instead of focusing on governance.
Failed govt #AP
— KPS (@kuchisubash) November 5, 2019
Dr. Kalam, the leader who is among the most revered of Indians is not a political figure, nor does he represent any political outfit. He is truly a national figure. Affection for him throughout the nation, cutting across all forms of division, is a manifestation of the larger national philosophy that Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam represents. By renaming the award solely for political purposes, Andhra CM Jagan Reddy has really set a really bad precedent. This shocking decision will, in all probability, cost him dearly, sooner or later.