Maya renames Gandhi bastion of Amethi, makes it her own | india | Hindustan Times
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Maya renames Gandhi bastion of Amethi, makes it her own

india Updated: Jul 02, 2010 01:34 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati took her battle with the Congress to a new level: renaming Amethi - the Gandhis' pet constituency - after a Dalit icon.

The Congress had wanted it to be named after Rajiv Gandhi.

Maywati's Cabinet took the decision on Thursday to create the new district of Chhatrapati Sahuji Maharaj Nagar, which will include Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi's Amethi parliamentary constituency.

Amethi is the ninth district to be named after a Dalit icon. Mayawati's move is seen as another bid to endear herself to the Dalits, her party's key supporters, in the face of the Congress's efforts to woo them away.

A miffed Congress did not mince words.

In New Delhi, Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said, "Amethi was, is and will always remain intrinsically connected to the contributions of the Nehru-Gandhi family."

UP leaders said they had wanted Amethi to be named after Rajiv Gandhi because of its long association with the family.

Former PM Jawaharlal Nehru, his grandsons Sanjay and Rajiv Gandhi, and Sonia Gandhi have represented this constituency. In 2004, Rahul was elected from here and re-elected in 2009.

Though Amethi will remain the same till the Election Commission decides to change the name, the 72nd district of UP consisting of five tehsils - Amethi, Gauriganj and Musafirkhana of Sultanpur and Salon and Tiloi of Rae Bareli - will be known as Sahuji Maharaj Nagar for administrative purposes.

In 2002, amid stiff opposition from the Congress, Mayawati had tried to rename Amethi as Sahuji Maharaj Nagar.

The notification was issued in May 2003. However, the Mulayam Singh government, which came to power in August 2003, scrapped her decision in November 2004.

This time, Mayawati used a Allahabad HC order to settle scores. In March, the HC, while disposing of a petition of an advocate, asked the state to decide within three months on creating a new district named after Sahuji Maharaj.

The deadline ended on Wednesday.