Devendra Fadnavis and Uddhav Thackeray.
Devendra Fadnavis and Uddhav Thackeray.

Maharashtra: Shiv Sena, Congress fight over renaming Aurangabad; BJP mocks them

By Pradip Kumar Maitra, Nagpur
UPDATED ON JAN 02, 2021 12:09 AM IST

Ruling partners in Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) Shiv Sena and Congress are again at the loggerhead over the renaming of Aurangabad city. Congress has opposed Sena’s proposal of renaming it after Sambhaji Maharaj, while the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has termed it as a ‘fixed fight’.

Ahead of the ensuing civic polls in Aurangabad, the Shiv Sena has raked up the old issue of the renaming of the city as Sambhaji Nagar. The original proposal was passed by the party in Aurangabad Municipal Corporation, ruled by it for more than three decades, in June 1995. The BJP too had supported the proposal and issued a notification during the Sena-BJP alliance government. The proposal was challenged by a Congress corporator in the high court and later in the Supreme Court.

Congress has said as a ruling party it will be opposed strongly. Thorat said changing the names of places was not a part of the Common Minimum Programme of the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government, in which Congress and NCP are partners. “If any proposal about renaming Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar comes up, the Congress will strongly oppose it. Congress does not believe in changing names as it does not benefit the common man, Thorat said and asserted that although his party is a part of the MVA alliance, it will surely oppose such a proposal. However, I am not aware of any proposal about renaming Aurangabad,” he further said.

The renaming issue is seen as another flashpoint between Sena and Congress, the two ruling parties in the MVA government. Recently, Congress had hit out at its ally after Sena MP Sanjay Raut criticised Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and expressed the need to change the leadership of United Progressive Alliance.

Mocking the Sena, leader of the Opposition and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said that it remembers the renaming issue only when elections approach. The Sena raked up the issue again when the civic elections are round the corner. Fadnavis added and pointed out that Sena will forget the issue once the elections are over.

On Friday Congress’s general secretary and spokesperson Sachin Sawant questioned why Modi government has failed to approve the proposal of renaming Aurangabad airport after Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj six months after MVA government sent it to the Centre.

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