Andhra Pradesh State Legislative Assembly on Wednesday passed a Bill to rechristen Dr NTR University of Health as Dr YSR University of Health.
Ignoring the objections and protests of the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government went ahead with the legislation.
The Dr NTR University of Health Sciences (Amendment) Bill 2022 was passed unanimously in the absences of TDP members, who were earlier suspended from the House by Speaker Tammineni Seetharam for stalling the proceedings in protest against the government’s move.
Minister for medical and health Vidadala Rajini tabled the Bill and the same was passed after a debate.
Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy defended the government’s move to rechristen the university. He told the House that the decision was taken after careful examination of the proposal and made it clear that he has great respect for NTR. “I have more respect for NTR than Chandrababu Naidu,” he said and pointed out that his government named a district after NTR though nobody demanded it.
The chief minister said he asked himself a question whether renaming the university was a correct step and only after he was satisfied the government took a step in this regard.
Explaining the reasons for renaming the university, Jagan Mohan Reddy said Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR) was not only a physician and politician but was also a great humanitarian who understood hardships of the poor and provided best healthcare facilities to them for free.
The chief minister recalled that the late YSR is credited with bringing public health services like 104 and 108 for people and he also implemented revolutionary schemes like Arogyasri. He said as many as 28 medical colleges were established during YSR and Y S Jagan regimes while not a single college came up during the TDP rule.
Health minister recalled that former chief minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy strived a lot for the development of the medical and health sector. She said it was YSR who introduced Arogyasri scheme to provide free healthcare to the poor.
Tourism minister R. K. Roja thanked the government for changing the name of the university.
Set up in 1986, the Health University was named in 1998 after TDP founder and former chief minister N. T. Rama Rao, who was popularly known as NTR.
With the passing of the Bill, the university has now been renamed after YSR who was father of Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy.
The move triggered angry reaction from TDP, whose legislators in both the houses of State Legislature stalled the proceedings. The party leaders and workers also hit the streets.
All TDP members were suspended from the Assembly as they disrupted the proceedings. On the orders of Speaker Tammineni Seetharam, marshals physically lifted them out of the House.
TDP president and former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu slammed Jagan Mohan Reddy government.
Naidu questioned the move to rename NTR Health University that was founded in 1986. “The university was formed by NTR, how can you rename it after your father,” Naidu asked Jagan Mohan Reddy.
It was in 1986 that then chief minister NTR formed a separate health university to promote medical education in united Andhra Pradesh. After the death of NTR, then chief minister Chandrababu Naidu named the university after the late leader.