Row after Assam renames Rajiv Gandhi National Park; Karnataka gets similar proposal too

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Updated: September 02, 2021 4:10 PM

Deputy Leader Lok Sabha and Congress MP from Assam Gaurav Gogoi said that the party will overturn the decision after coming to power.

Mysore BJP MP Pratap Simha has written to Karnataka Chief Minister BS Bommai urging him to rename Rajiv Gandhi Nagarahole National Park.

Less than a month after the Modi government announced that the country’s highest sporting honour will not be named after the former Prime Minister but instead after hockey wizard Major Dhyanchand, the BJP government in Assam has renamed the Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park and Tiger reserve as Orang National Park. The Himanta Biswa Sarma-led Cabinet decided to rename the park following requests from the Adivasi and tea tribe community, government sources said.

“In the weekly Assam Cabinet, we took some key decisions regarding assistance for kin of deceased COVID victims, COVID expenses to DCs, fund disbursal for Orunodoi scheme, nomenclature of Orang National Park, Govt jobs for sportspersons among others,” said CM Sarma yesterday while sharing the list of key decisions.

“Rajiv Gandhi Orang National park to be renamed as Orang National Park, taking cognizance of the demands of Adivasi and tea tribe communities,” said the Assam government.

Assam minister Ashok Singhal said that the decision was taken within 48 hours of the demand raised by the tea community.

Covering an area of 79.28 sq km, it was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1985, and a national park in 1999. Located on the north bank of the Brahmaputra in Darrang and Sonitpur districts, the national park is known for wild animals like Royal Bengal Tiger, Indian Rhinos, Pgmy Hog, and wild elephants.

However, the Congress leaders from across the country slammed the decision. “This is a foolish decision,” says former Karnataka CM and Congress leader Siddaramaiah.

Deputy Leader Lok Sabha and Congress MP from Assam Gaurav Gogoi said that the party will overturn the decision after coming to power. “When the next Congress Government is formed in the state of Assam, on the first day we will cancel the decision of the BJP government to remove the name of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi from the Orang National Park. Indian culture teaches us to respect martyrs unlike RSS,” said Gogoi.

However, Sarma said that the park has not been renamed and the previous name was restored. “Wish to clear the air. Orang national park has not been renamed. No National parks in Assam named after any person. In 2005, Govt broke this convention and name of the former PM Rajiv Gandhi was affixed. Original name restored to honour the local sentiments,” said Sarma.

Meanwhile, Mysore BJP MP Pratap Simha has written to Karnataka Chief Minister BS Bommai urging him to rename Rajiv Gandhi Nagarahole National Park. “Requesting the Hon. Chief Minister of Karnataka Bommai Sir, to rename Rajiv Gandhi Nagarahole National Park & Tiger Reserve as FM K.M.Cariappa Nagarahole National Park & Tiger Reserve lies in the jurisdiction of Mysuru & Kodagu District,” he said while sharing the letter he wrote to the CM.

KM Carriappa was India’s first Commander-in-Chief of the army after independence. He is one of the two recipients of the ‘Field Marshal’ title with the other being Sam Manekshaw. He was born in Shanivarsanthe of Coorg Province (present-day Kodagu district) of Karnataka in 1899.

It may be recalled that PM Narendra Modi had announced renaming the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award as Major Dhyanchand Khel Ratna award on August 7 last month. The move had kicked up a massive controversy and a war of words between the BJP and the Congress.

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