Aurangabad renaming: After ruffled feathers, MVA to decide at the table

Mumbai, Jan 7 : After nearly a fortnight long war of words, the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies have decided to sit at the table and hammer out a solution to the ticklish issue of renaming Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar.

The matter, which almost brought the Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress alliance to the brink — as the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party watched in anticipation — is likely to be resolved ‘amicably’, said a Congress source.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his Shiv Sena are rooting for the rechristening of the historical tourist city while the Congress and other parties have vigorously opposed it. The NCP has kept quiet and stuck to the middle ground that it does not want to ‘politicize the issue’.

The BJP leaders have thrown the gauntlet at the Shiv Sena and even asked whether it would be cowed down by the other two ruling partners on the issue that was the dream of the late Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray.

The renaming has willy-nilly acquired political overtones in view of the civic elections due in the city sometime this year. All the political parties hope to capitalize through their respective stance.

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The matter came to a boil on Wednesday (January 6) night when state Congress President and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat vented his ire at the Directorate General of Information & Public Relations — overseen by Thackeray — for referring to Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar while publicizing a government statement.

“The Congress is opposed to renaming cities. There is nothing new to this, that is our position. Merely renaming cities does not uplift the poor,” Thorat said sharply.

Hoping to soothe the ruffled feathers, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar of the NCP said on Thursday afternoon that the three partners always discuss things among themselves before taking any decision.

“We have been in this manner for the last one year In this (renaming) matter of Aurangabad also, we shall sit together and decide,” Pawar told mediapersons.

Among the other parties, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) which is a major party in the city, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi led by Prakash Ambedkar and Samajwadi Party led by Abu Asim Azmi are opposed to renaming Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar, while the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena led by Raj Thackeray says its high time the decision is implemented.

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Lashing out at the Sena, BJP ex-MP Kirit Somaiya said after the Congress even the SP has opposed the renaming of this prominent city in Marathwada.

“Uddhavji, you will have to tell us whether this is the Shiv Sena of the Hindu Hrudaysamrat (Balasaheb Thackeray), or the saffron has turned green,” Somaiya said.

Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj (1657-1689) was the eldest son of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the founder of the Maratha Empire, succeeded him to the throne and reigned for nine years till his capture and execution by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

In a related development, the Chief Minister has written to Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri requesting that a notification for the renaming of Aurangabad Airport as ‘Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj Airport’ be issued as early as possible.

The letter follows a resolution passed unanimously by the Maharashtra Legislature during the Budget Session last year to the effect.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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