In a shocking revelation concerning the Samajwadi Party’s rule between 2012 and 2017 in Uttar Pradesh, the state government’s lucrative Yash Bharti awards have mostly been given to undeserving candidates during all those years.
A response to a Right to Information (RTI) application by the Indian Express has revealed that the recipients of the award were people like a television anchor who organized the “Saifai Mahotsav” for the Akhilesh Yadav government, an employee at the CM’s office who had recommended his own name, a researcher whose 2-month field work in Meghalaya was listed as an achievement, candidates recommended by the CM’s relatives, a local editor and a self-styled founder of “the revolutionary ideology of manufacturing unique and handmade clothes based on jyotish and psychology”.
As per the scheme, the Yash Bharti awards are meant to “generate social awareness in the society”. The awardee gets a one time prize of Rs. 11 lakh and a monthly pension of Rs. 50,000 for the rest of his life. The award was initially introduced by former Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav, in 1994. They were late discontinued by the BJP and BSP government and reinstituted by Akhilesh Yadav.
In the detailed list of 142 out of the estimated 200 winners of this award between 2012 and 2017 obtained through RTI, it was revealed that most of these were granted as patronage and favors rather than being awarded for real achievements. Reportedly, there was no particular process followed for application or selection of winners and most of the award recipients were linked to the Samajwadi Party in some way or the other. The official in-charge of the award is the state’s culture department but a number of applications were sent from the office of the chief minister.
These awards are now being reviewed by the Yogi Adityanath government while the Samajwadi Party appears to be offended by the review. Commenting on the revision by the present government, Rajendra Chaudhary, SP spokesperson, said,
The BJP wants to stop every good work done by our government. Yash Bharti was to felicitate personalities from different fields. Every awardee was selected by a high-level committee after due process.