Mumbai: The Congress in Maharashtra on Wednesday voiced strong protest against the government's decision to rename the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevdayi Arogya Yojana (RGJAY) after the great social reformer Mahatma Jyotiba Phule.
State Congress President Ashok Chavan said the plans to abruptly change the name of RGJAY was indicative of "low-level politics" and attempts to rake up a controversy by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena government.
"Government schemes must be named after big leaders like Mahatma Phule and we have no reservations. But we strongly object to the manner in which an existing scheme which has been named after a national leader being renamed," Chavan told media persons.
Instead of changing the name of a scheme named after late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, why could the state government not launch a separate new programme and dedicate it to Mahatma Phule, Chavan wondered.
He said Rajiv Gandhi was not only a Congress leader, but also a national leader who was martyred in a terror attack.
"It does not behove the state government to play politics with the name of a leader who sacrificed his life for the country in this manner," Chavan said.
He rejected Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis' assertions that the scheme named after Mahatma Phule was a new one to be launched from October this year.
"Schemes are modified and changed over the years... By making some minor changes or giving it an extension, you cannot claim it is a new scheme and even change its name, as is being done," Chavan said.
"Instead of being a game-changer, this government is only a name-changer," Chavan said sarcastically, referring to the manner in which the Indira Awas Yojana was re-christened as Prime Minister Awas Yojana.
Chavan said a delegation of Congress leaders would soon meet Fadnavis and ask him to reconsider the decision.