Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar has said that he was not aware of the move of renaming Aurangabad and Osmanabad as Sambhajinagar and Dharashiv respectively. The former Union Minister said he got to know after the decision was taken by then chief minister Uddhav Thackeray in his last cabinet meeting on June 29. He further said that this was not part of Maha Vikas Aghadi's common minimum programme.
Pawar said, "The renaming these places was not part of the common minimum programme of the MVA". "I came to know only after the decision was taken. It was taken without prior consultation. Opinions were expressed by our people during the cabinet meeting over the proposal. But the decision was that of the (then) chief minister (Thackeray)," he added.
Meanwhile, Aurangabad Lok Sabha MP Imtiaz Jaleel said Pawar's claim that he was unaware of the move was "laughable".
"Pawar's statement that he did not know about the renaming proposal coming up at the cabinet meeting and that he found out only after it was passed is laughable. He is touring Aurangabad as a damage control exercise," Jaleel told reporters.
He said then NCP ministers Jayant Patil, Dhananjay Munde as well as Congress' Ashok Chavan and Balasaheb Thorat were present in the cabinet meeting but did not oppose the decision.
"Pawar knows the people of Aurangabad have not liked the renaming decision. That is why he has come her to clarify his party's stand," Jaleel added.
The AIMIM MP said one must not believe just Muslims are against the renaming, adding that his party's stand on the issue had the support of people from all religions.
(With PTI inputs)