In this respect, BJP lawmaker Jagan Prasad Garg’s demand that Agra be renamed as “Agravan” or “Agrawal” takes the cake. ‘‘The word Agra has no meaning whatsoever. You check the name Agra on Google, what relevance does it have? Earlier there were forests here and mostly inhabited by the Agarwal community. So, the name should be ‘Agra-van’ or Agar-wal,” Garg said at a press conference. It is not just a coincidence that he represents the Agra North constituency in Uttar Pradesh.
Another suggestion in the ‘wish list’ has emanated from controversial BJP lawmaker from Sardhana, Sangeet Som, who wants the name of Muzaffarnagar to be changed to Laxmi Nagar. Som put the renaming spree in perspective. ‘‘Names of cities were deliberately changed by Muslim rulers to erode traces of Hinduism. Now, the BJP is working to rekindle the Indian ethos by restoring the original names,” Som was quoted by the Asian News International as saying. “The names of many cities are yet to be changed,” he added, giving an indication of things to come.
But not everyone is convinced. “What kind of an agenda is this? How can you obliterate Faizabad and Allahabad? These names are part of our collective consciousness. This is politics of hate and polarisation,” said Deepak Kabir, a social activist and theatre personality based in Lucknow. Meanwhile, you can trust Congress leader and member of Rajya Sabha, Renuka Chaudhary, to take on BJP MLA Raja Singh for demanding a change in the name of Hyderabad to Bhagyanagar. Speaking to ANI, Chaudhary said, “Who is Raja Singh to say anything about Hyderabad? We are Hyderabadis, and we are proud to be Hyderabadis. And who is anyone to take away our identity? If he wants, he can change his name, no one will object.” Raja Singh, an MLA from Goshamahal assembly constituency, is unrepentant and will also change the name of Secunderabad and Karimnagar, if voted to power.