Andhra Pradesh scraps move to rename Kalam award

In the order, school education secretary B Vijaya Kumar said the award, which is given to students who excel in class 10 examinations, has been renamed YSR Vidya Puraskar.
The Andhra Pradesh government was on Tuesday forced to rescind an order issued a day earlier renaming an award named after late former President APJ Abdul Kalam for meritorious students following criticism from opposition parties.

The order issued on Monday evening renamed the award after chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s late father, Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, who was popularly known as YSR. YSR was the chief minister of the undivided Andhra Pradesh from 2004 to 2009.

In the order, school education secretary B Vijaya Kumar said the award, which is given to students who excel in class 10 examinations, has been renamed YSR Vidya Puraskar.

Kalam, who served as the president for five years from 2002, was closely involved in India’s civilian space programme and military missile development efforts.

A copy of the order went viral on social media on Tuesday morning amid angry reactions with the hashtag #YSRCPInsultsAbdulKalam. In a statement on Tuesday, the YSR Congress Party  government in the state said the chief minister pulled up officials for issuing the order without his knowledge. “He warned officials and firmly told them to continue the name of APJ Abdul Kalam for the meritorious student award.

Earlier, opposition Telugu Desam Party chief and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu said renaming of the award was “a shocking method of self-aggrandizement at the cost of disrespecting a much-venerated man”. BJP Party leader Lanka Dinakar called Kalam a real hero and criticised dynasty politics. “It shows utmost arrogance and disrespect for the great scientist and former president of our nation,” he said. The Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Pratibha Puraskar awards are given annually on November 11 on the occasion of first Union education minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s birth anniversary.

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