- Andhra government proposed renaming APJ Abdul Kalam award on Monday
- Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy withdrew the proposal after backlash
- It was to be renamed after former Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy
The renaming of an award named after former President APJ Abdul Kalam to "YSR Vidya Puraskar" has been scrapped by the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in Andhra Pradesh within a day, following a backlash and attacks by critics including former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
An order on Monday declared that the "APJ Abdul Kalam Pratibha Puraskar" would be renamed as the "YSR Vidya Puraskar". The awards are handed out to mark National Education Day on 11 November, the birth anniversary of freedom icon Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.
This morning, officials said Chief Minister Jagan Reddy, after the name-change came to his notice, ordered it revoked and "warned" that awards should be given in the name of Dr Kalam, Mahatma Gandhi and BR Ambedkar.
YSR or YS Rajasekhara Reddy was the father of Jagan Mohan Reddy. The two-time chief minister, one of the Congress's most popular leaders in the south, died in a chopper crash in 2009.
Tweeting the state government notification, Chandrababu Naidu lashed out at the Chief Minister using the hashtag #YSRCPInsultsAbdulKalam.
"Dr. Kalam has accomplished much for the nation with his pioneering work and inspiring life. 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!!" - tweeted Mr Naidu.
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. #YSRCPInsultsAbdulKalampic.twitter.com/7lPaZddNZF— N Chandrababu Naidu (@ncbn) November 5, 2019
The awards include scholarship for schoolchildren who excel.
Jagan Mohan Reddy came to power after a landslide victory in Andhra Pradesh elections in May in which Mr Naidu was voted out of power.
In the past few months, he has faced criticism over the renaming of the previous government's schemes after his father and for painting a village secretariat building in the colours of his party YSR Congress.