Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat on Thursday said if any proposal to rename Aurangabad comes up, his party would strongly oppose it.
He said changing the names of places was not a part of the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) of the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (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," Thorat told reporters here in response to a query.
"Although we are part of the MVA alliance, we will surely oppose this kind of proposal. However, I am not aware of any proposal about renaming Aurangabad," he said.
Over two decades ago, the Shiv Sena had first made the demand to rename Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar.
A proposal to that effect had been passed in the general body meeting of the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) in June 1995, which was challenged by a Congress corporator in the high court and later in the Supreme Court.
When asked about Congress president Sonia Gandhi''s recent letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Thorat said, "Sonia Gandhi is one of the leaders responsible for the formation of the MVA, like (NCP supremo) Sharad Pawar and (Sena president) Uddhav Thackeray."
"Just like Sharad Pawar, Sonia Gandhi also has the authority to guide the government," he said.
In the letter written to Thackeray, Gandhi had reminded him of the CMP of the MVA government in the state and sought implementation of certain measures for the welfare of Dalits and tribals.
"''Saamana'' (Sena mouthpiece) writes that Congress is weak now. It is their right as a journalist to write so. But if Uddhav Thackeray also says so, then it is a different thing," Thorat said.
"Congress is strong and we have proved it in the legislative council elections in the past. Every party faces problems, but we have the ability to be strong again," he said.
Replying to a query over no decision taken yet by Maharashtra Governor BS Koshyari on the list of 12 members to be nominated to the Legislative Council from his quota, Thorat expressed hope that the issue would be sorted soon.
"The list is with the honourable governor. He has taken some time in this case, but I have faith that he will clear it soon. The proposal which has been signed by the chief minister should be accepted. Such a delay is creating hurdles for those 12 nominees," the Congress leader said.