WHAT’S IN a name? Ask Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav who has decided to rename Akbarpur town after the Samajwadi Party ideologue Dr Ram Manohar Lohia. Incidentally, Akbarpur, now Lohianagar, houses district headquarters of Ambedkar Nagar named after the architect of Constitution and Bahujan Samaj Party ideologue Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar.
By renaming Akbarpur, the Chief Minister has obviously tried to counter the move of his predecessor Mayawati, who had created the new district and named it Ambedkar Nagar. Rename Akbarpur as Lohia Nagar has been a long-pending demand. Even when the then Chief Minister Mayawati had created the new district with its headquarters at Akbarpur the demand had been raised. The demand stems from the fact that Akbarpur is in the vicinity of Shahjadpur, which is the birthplace of Dr Ram Manohar Lohia.
This is not for the first time that the Chief Minister has resorted to the politics of names. His predecessor Mayawati was the first in recent years to resort to the ‘name game’. Now, the Mulayam Government has undone most of her decisions with the latest being the move to re-christen Mahamaya Nagar district as Hathras in June last. Mayawati had created new district by carving out areas around Hathras on May 6, 1997 and had named it Mahamaya Nagar.
Later, when senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kalyan Singh took over reigns of governance from Mayawati he decided to revert back to the name of Hathras. When Mayawati took over as Chief Minister again she decided to rename the district as Mahamaya Nagar on July 25, 2002. Other districts that she named after BSP ideologues included Jyotiba Phule Nagar and Sant Ravi Das Nagar etc.
The Chief Minister had also given back the old name of Lucknow’s famous King George Medical University. Mayawati had renamed the university after another BSP ideologue Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj.
Yadav had earlier decided to rename the Lucknow University after former Chief Minister Chandra Bhanu Gupta but he has not been able to implement it following protests from university’s teachers and staff.
This is not to say that universities have not been named after other politicians. Other universities renamed after leaders include Chaudhary Charan Singh University Meerut, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Awadh University, Faizabad, Acharya Narendra Agriculture University Faizabad, Bhimrao Ambedkar University Agra, Deen Dayal Upadhyay University Gorakhpur, Chatrapati Shahuji Maharaj University Kanpur, Mahatama Jyotiba Phule University Rohilkhand Bareilly and Vir Bahadur Poorvanchal University Jaunpur.