Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray has expressed his displeasure against the ruling Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) government over its reluctance to accept ‘Sambhaji Nagar’ as the new name given to Aurangabad.
“The ruling parties should be ashamed to play such vote bank politics by not changing the name,” said Thackeray during a press conference held at the Mumbai Marathi Sahitya Sangh at Girgaum in south Mumbai on Sunday. He was speaking after the inauguration of ‘Pankha Atmavishwasache’, an education drive launched by Shiv Sena for students and parents across Mumbai.
The ruling Sena-BJP alliance in the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) had adopted a resolution recently for renewing their demand that Aurangabad be renamed Sambhaji Nagar. They had also adopted a separate resolution for changing the name of the Chikalthana airport
The move seems to be fuelled by the Congress-NCP’s decision to shift Dadoji Konddeo's statue out of Lal Mahal in Pune.
Comparing the state government with British rulers, Thackeray said: “Under this government everything will happen only if we protest. Dadoji Konddeo was not an enemy of Shivaji like Mughal king Aurangazeb. We will keep protesting till Aurangabad is renamed. I wonder how this government is different from British rulers?”
He said the Sena would soon call the Chikalthana Airport as Chhatrapati Sambhaji airport.
There has been a debate whether Konddeo, a Brahmin, was Shivaji’s teacher. The Sambhaji brigade, a group of Maratha sympathisers who were instrumental in getting the statue shifted, contended that there was no historic evidence available to prove that Konddeo was Shivaji’s guru and “it was creating a wrong picture”.
The Congress and NCP-led civic body supported the move to attract more Maratha youth in their party.
However, the Shiv Sena, which has always ridden on the Marathi bandwagon and claimed to be Shivaji’s army, kept a low profile on the issue, as the Pune and Mumbai civic elections are just a year away.