Two days after Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat said his party would strongly oppose any proposal that seeks to rename Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar, the Shiv Sena on Saturday said its resistance will not impact the three-party MVA government in the state.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut expressed confidence that the issue would be resolved when the entire Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies- Sena, NCP and Congress- take a seat together and talk.
On Thursday, Thorat had asserted that the Congress would oppose any proposal to rename Aurangabad, saying that changing the names of places was once not a part of the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) of the three ruling parties.
It was once the Shiv Sena, which had first made the demand to rename Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar over two decades ago.
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A proposal to that effect had been passed in the general body assembly of the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) in June 1995, which was once challenged by a Congress corporator in the high court and later in the Supreme Court.
In its party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, the Sena said, “The Congress has objected the proposal of renaming Aurangabad to Sambhajinagar. It has made the BJP happy. But the Congress’s opposition to the proposal isn’t new and subsequently, linking it to the MVA government is foolishness.” “Despite the fact that the name has not been changed in the government records, Shiv Sena supremo late Balasaheb Thackeray had renamed Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar when there was once Congress’s chief minister in the state. The people had also accepted it,” it said.
“But some people feel that the issue of renaming Aurangabad will create friction inside the ruling alliance,” the Sena said in a veiled attack on the BJP.
“Thorat announced that whether any proposal for renaming Aurangabad comes up before the MVA government, his party would oppose it. It is his claim. After his observation, BJP leaders started demanding that the Sena will have to make its stand lucid on the issue. But the Sena has not changed its stance on it.” “Balasaheb Thackeray had renamed Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar 30 years ago, which was once accepted by the people.
And it’s going to soon be changed officially as mannered,” it said.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led party said BJP leader Chandrakant Patil asked that whether Allahabad’s name will also be changed to Prayagraj, Faizabad’s to Ayodhya, why cant Aurangabad’s name be changed to Sambhajinagar.
“But we need to ask why the party did not do so when it was once in power in Maharashtra,” the Sena added.
“Any state requires a foundation of self-respect and even the Congress will agree that Aurangazeb was once not a secular person. The Muslims in Maharashtra have stood in the back of the Shiv Sena. They would like development and welfare,” it said.
“It is an insult to the reminiscence of Chhatrapati ShivajiMaharaj that a city in Maharashtra will have to bear Aurangazeb’s name, who brutally killed ChhatrapatiSambhaji Maharaj,” it said.
“But what Thorat is saying is correct. The Maharashtra government is duty-bound to execute the CMP of giving justice to the downtrodden and the farmers,” it added.
Congress’s opposition to the renaming proposal will not impact the MVA alliance, it said.
Meantime, Raut said, “Thirty years ago, Balasaheb Thackeray gave the name Sambhajinagar. Only paper work is left now. When the entire MVA allies take a seat together and talk, the issue would get resolved.” The renaming of Aurangabad was once not a political issue, he said.
Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam said the MVA government has been formed to work and not change the names of cities.
“The CMP doesn’t mention changing name of Aurangabad,” he said.