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Maharashtra govt announces new Rajiv Gandhi award, BJP ridicules move

BJP says Congress playing politics, has suddenly woken up to former PM's contribution to IT sector

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
Updated: August 11, 2021 9:26:35 pm
Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi

The Maharashtra government has announced a new award named after Rajiv Gandhi, days after the central government changed the name of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award to Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award.

Minister of State for Information and Technology Satej Patil said the award will be given to institutions and companies for outstanding performance in the information technology sector, the birth anniversary of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

The BJP said it had no objection to the new award but sought to know why the Congress did not name the IT award after Rajiv Gandhi despite being in power for 15 consecutive years.

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BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said, “We have no opposition to the award being given in the name of Rajiv Gandhi. But Congress should explain as to why despite being in power for 15 consecutive years, it did not name the IT award after Rajiv Gandhi? They are playing politics, their politics only revovles around the name of Gandhi-Vadra family.”

He added, “It seems the Congress was not aware of the contribution of Rajiv Gandhi all these years and now they have suddenly realised that he made a big contribution to the IT sector.”

Patil tweeted on Tuesday evening, “…The award, which will be announced on August 20, will be a lasting tribute to Late Shri Rajiv ji for his pioneering work in the technology sector in India.” Patil denied that there was any political motive in naming the award after Rajiv Gandhi. “The world knows about Rajiv Gandhi’s contribution to the IT sector. He ushered in the IT era, which has helped change the face of the country,” he said.

It was decided to announce the award at a meeting of the IT department on July 7, Patil said, adding, “The file was put before the Chief Minister, who approved it two days ago and then I tweeted it late in the evening,” he said.

The government will talk to various organisations like NASSCOM to finalise the modalities of the award, Patil said.
“It will be given to companies or institutions which excel in the field with new ideas and innovations. The award will be given out by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray,” he said.

“This year, the award will be announced on August 20, the selection procedure will be completed and the award will be given before October 30. From next year, the distribution of the award will be given on August 20. Maharashtra IT Corporation Limited (MAHA-IT), the state government enterprise, has been appointed the nodal agency to propose the award,” Patil said.

Rajiv Gandhi served as the sixth Prime Minister between 1984 and 1989.

Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe said, “The IT revolution ushered in by Rajiv Gandhi lifted 24 crore people above the poverty line. It is the BJP which is playing politics by changing the name of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award. We have not changed any name…We have no objection to an award being named after Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his contribution to GST and demonetisation.”

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