The Andhra Pradesh government has scrapped its plans to rename an award named after former President APJ Abdul Kalam to “YSR Vidya Puraskar”, after former Chief Minister YSR Reddy. On Monday, the state government led by Jagan Reddy renamed the “APJ Abdul Kalam Pratibha Puraskar” as the “YSR Vidya Puraskar”, after the CM’s late father. YSR was a two-time chief minister of the undivided Andhra Pradesh from 2004 to 2009. He died in a chopper crash in 2009.
“School Education Department-‘Pratibha Awards’- Scheme for promoting Quality and Excellence in Education- Re-designation of “Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Pratibha Puraskar Awards” as “Y.S.R. Vidya Puraskars” for distribution of awards from 2019 onwards,” read the government statement.
The move comes following strong criticism by several leaders including former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu. In a tweet, TDP chief said, “Dr. Kalam has accomplished much for the nation with his inspiring life. ys Jagan’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.”
The “APJ Abdul Kalam Pratibha Puraskar” awards are set to be given to the meritorious students of Class 10 on the birth anniversary of great freedom fighter Maulana Abul Kalam Azad on November 11, 2019. The students whose performance will be best would get merit certificates, scholarships, and a memento to meet higher education costs.
According to reports, Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy has directed authorities to hand out the awards only in the name of Dr. Kalam, Mahatma Gandhi, and BR Ambedkar.
Senior BJP leader and IT cell head Amit Malviya in a tweet 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.”