Renaming Aurangabad as Shambhajinagar would now be an acid test for Sena


The ruling allies of Congress and the Shiv Sena are now loggerhead on the issue of renaming of Aurangabad. Even after the strong opposition of the Congress on proposal that seeks to rename Aurangabad as Shambhajinagar, Shiv Sena on Saturday made it clear that the resistance of Congress on the issue would not affect the coalition government.

The Sena Rajya Sabha member and the party spokesman, Sanjay Raut expressed his confidence that the issue would be resolved when all the Maha-Vikas -Aghadi allies sit together and talk on it.

The state Congress chief and senior cabinet minister Balasaheb Thorat said if any proposal to rename Aurangabad comes up, his party would strongly oppose it. The state Congress chief said changing the names of places was not a part of the Common Minimum Programme of the Shiv Sena-led MVA government, in which Congress and NCP are partners.
If any proposal about renaming Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar comes up, the Congress will oppose it strongly. “Our party does not believe in changing names as it does not lead to development of common man,” he further said.

A proposal to that effect had been passed in the general body meeting of the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation in June 1995, which was challenged by a Congress corporator in the high court and later in the Supreme Court.

The Congress has opposed the proposal of renaming Aurangabad to Sambhajinagar. It has made the BJP happy. But the Congress’s opposition to the proposal is not new and therefore, linking it to the MVA government is foolishness, Sena said.

The Sena reminded that even if the name has not been changed in the government records, the Sena supremo late Balasaheb Thackeray had renamed Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar when there was Congress’s chief minister in the state. The people had also accepted it, it further pointed out.

Ridiculing the BJP, the ruling Sena said that some people feel that the issue of renaming Aurangabad will create friction within the ruling alliance, but the government would not fall on the issue.

However, the issue is now a hot one and the Sena is at the receiving end as neither it openly support the renaming the city nor dump it for a moment! It would be very interesting to watch the Sena in this context in coming days!

** M Charulata

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