Cracks in Maha Aghadi? Congress vs Shiv Sena over reference to Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar by CM’s office

By: |
January 7, 2021 5:21 PM

Shiv Sena, which is now heading the state government with support from NCP and Congress, has long been demanding renaming of Aurangabad city to Sambhajinagar.

Shiv Sena is now heading the state government with support from NCP and Congress

 

Differences between the Congress and Shiv Sena over renaming of Aurangabad city once again played out in the open on Wednesday after Maharashtra CMO referred to Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar, a change it has long advocated. The tweet, which was about a Cabinet decision, said that approval had been granted to additional 165 beds and creation of 360 new posts at the government medical college in “Sambhajinagar (Aurangabad)”.

As soon as this tweet was put out, the Maharashtra CMO led by Uddhav Thackeray faced the first pushback from Congress’ Balasaheb Thorat, who said that his party would oppose any move directed at changing the name of Aurangabd. The Congress leader further said that the state publicity department should not rename cities on its own. He said the department should remember that official work is a legal document and renaming cities is not on the agenda of the common minimum Programme (CMP) of the MVA government.

Thorat also said that the MVA government was committed to what was promised in the CMP. “We want to reassert that we are opposed to renaming any city to ensure that social harmony prevails,” he said. The Congress leader, however, said that “Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj is our revered deity”. Without naming any individual or party, Thorat advised against politics in his (Sambhaji) name and to work together for Aurangabad’s development.

Shiv Sena, which is now heading the state government with support from NCP and Congress, has long been demanding renaming of Aurangabad city to Sambhajinagar. PTI reports that a proposal was passed in the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation in June 1995, which was challenged by a Congress corporator in the high court and later in the Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray urged the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation to issue a notification regarding naming of Aurangabad Airport as Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj Airport. In a tweet, the Chief Minister’s Office said that the state cabinet had decided to name the Aurangabad airport after Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj. “A resolution to this effect has also been unanimously passed in the budget session of the legislature in both the houses,” it said.

These series of developments come just a month before the scheduled municipal elections in Aurangabad. As per 2011 Census, the city has about 31 per cent Muslim population.

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