Politics over names of government schemes is being played out in Uttar Pradesh with Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government deciding to shed the ‘Samajwadi’ prefix from all the projects initiated by the previous regime.
Chief minister Adityanath asked officials to submit a list of all the state government’s schemes having “Samajwadi” in their name before the cabinet.
The government plans to replace the word “Samajwadi” from the names of these schemes with “mukhya mantri (chief minister)” sources said.
While reviewing the work progress of the 343km-long ongoing Samajwadi Poorvanchal Expressway project, the monk-turned politician on Thursday late evening ordered to rechristen it by removing the prefix associated with the name of the previous ruling party.
The ambitious eight-lane to connect Ballia and Azamgarh with the state capital Lucknow was initiated by the erstwhile Samajwadi Party-led government.
Adityanath asked the senior state government officials, who made a presentation before him, to expedite implementation of the project.
“Yes, the word ‘Samajwadi’ will be dropped from the name of the Poorvanchal Expressway project. All the government schemes having Samajwadi in their names will be placed before the state cabinet. Samajwadi will be replaced with the word mukhya mantra,” said a senior officer emerging from the meeting.
Names of the Samajwadi Ambulance Swasthya Sewa and the Samajwadi Pension Scheme are among those in line for a change of name.
The health scheme is a free-of-cost, round-the-clock emergency ambulance service while the pension scheme provides a financial aid of Rs 500 per month to a woman head of about 50 lakh eligible poor families.
Other schemes that may face a change of name in coming days include the projects named after the SP ideologues Dr Ram Manohar Lohia and Dr Janeshwar Mishra such as the Lohia Samagra Gram Vikas Yojana and the Janeswar Mishra Gram Yojana.
This is, however, not for the first time that the state is going to witness politics over names. The erstwhile Congress-led UPA government at the Centre and the Samajwadi Party government in the state had indulged in a war of letters over the use of “Samajwadi” in the ambulance scheme.
The then central government had even threatened to withdraw funding for the scheme if the prefix was not removed from its name.
The SP government on its part decided to run the scheme from its own resources. The SP leaders, including the then chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, had argued that the word “Samajwadi” was mentioned even in the preamble of the country’s constitution and hence should not be linked with any party politics.
After assuming office in 2012, the Akhilesh Yadav government had rechristened eight districts named after the BSP ideologues.
The SP government had also decided to restore the name of the state’s prestigious medical university as KGMU that the erstwhile Mayawati-led BSP government had named as Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University.
The sensitivity over the name is, however, not a state-specific phenomenon.
Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the centre too has renamed a number of central schemes after the BJP’s ideologues. These include - Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (for Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojana), Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (for JNNURM) Rural Eletrification Scheme), Pradhan Mantri Gramin Awas Yojana (for Indira Awas Yojana), Deen Dayal Upadhyay Antyodaya Yojana (for National Urban Livelihood Mission) and Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gramin Kaushal Yojana (for National Skill Development scheme) to name a few.