Akhilesh Yadav addressed Yash Bharti awards held in Lucknow
From a chef to a carpet manufacturer, actors to astrologers, an author of a book on Akhilesh Yadav to even hosting the show on stage.
For over an hour held in Lucknow on Thursday, the bitter political within the Samajwadi Party has receded to the background as Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav handed over the state government’s Yash Bharti awards to altogether 71 people for their contributions in the field of culture.
However, it did not matter that many of the award-winners, which included carpet manufacturer Gulham Shafarruddin, were associated with the ruling SP. Or that many of the awards, instituted by Akhilesh’s father and former UP chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav in the year 1994, were being handed over for the second time this year.
Government officials have also pointed to the assembly elections around the corner and has clarified that this set of awards — each carrying a cash prize of Rs 11 lakh and Rs 50,000 in monthly pension — was for the year 2016-17, given in advance.
Awards list was extended to 60 from 50
Sources have said that the original list this time had more than 50 names but this was extended to over 60, with as many as six which was added on Wednesday. In March, the awards for the year 2015-16 were given to 50 nominees, taking to number to 187 since the year 1994 — the awards were discontinued during the BSP and BJP regimes in between.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister took this opportunity to get a few political points, too. He referred to his father at least five times in his speech. “Netaji ka dhanyawad (Thanks to Netaji)” for further instituting the awards, he said.
The biggest name on the list was actor Naseeruddin Shah, who whoever failed to make it for the event. But there were some other names that definately raised a few eyebrows.
Among them was 29-year-old Marinder Kumar Mishra, who had completed a course in journalism at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) in the year 2009 and has authored books on socialism, which included one on Akhilesh titled “Samajwadi Model ke Yuva Dwajwahak: Akhilesh”.
Others on the list were actor Saurabh Shukla, cricketers Piyush Chawla, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Gyanendra Pandey and Praveen Kumar, astrologers Oma Upadhyaya and Hari Prasad Mishra, and Vijay Shekhar Sharma, CEO of Paytm, who hails from Aligarh.
Incidentally, the very first Yash Bharti award winner in the year 1994 was poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan, the father of actor Amitabh Bachchan.