As the issue of renaming Aurangabad to Sambhajinagar snowballs into a controversy, Shiv Sena on Sunday took a jibe at its ally Congress and attacked it for being "secular" and opposing the name change.
An editorial in Shiv Sena's mouthpiece "Saamana" said that the renaming of Aurangabad might affect the vote bank of "secular parties" as the renaming will upset the Muslim society.
"India's constitution was secular... Aurangzeb had a strong hatred for other religions. He tortured Sikhs and Hindus. Why should we pay attention to their relics? Who was Aurangzeb? At least Maharashtra does not need to explain this... Therefore, there is no reason for a true Marathi and hardcore Hindu person to have an attachment to Aurangzeb," it said.
"A political controversy has erupted over renaming of 'Aurangabad' to Sambhajinagar in the official documents of Marathwada. Secular parties like the Congress are not in favour to rename Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar. The renaming of Aurangabad will upset the Muslim society, that is, the minority and will affect the vote bank, which means that its secular image will be questioned," it read.
Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government which comprises Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and Congress, had completed one year in office in November 2020. In a drastic turn of events, Shiv Sena walked out of the BJP-NDA after the 2019 Assembly polls to form the government under the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray.
The editorial further asserted that there is a large section of people in Maharashtra who are in favour of the renaming.
"Does naming Aurangabad solve the problem of people's development? Those opposing the change of name are raising such an issue. It will be anything; however, no trace of Aurangzeb should be kept, at least in Maharashtra. There is a large section of people who are in favour of this," it said.
"On the orders of Aurangzeb, Raja Sambhaji of Maharashtra was tortured and killed by Mughal chieftains and his dismembered body was thrown into an abandoned condition on the road near Pune," the editorial said.
Shiv Sena asked leaders of Maharashtra to read Aurangzeb's history again.
"Aurangzeb was never 'secular'. He wanted to expand the empire based on Islam... There cannot be a single city in Maharashtra in the name of such an Aurangzeb... Call it the pride of Maharashtra, otherwise, the history is known but if such an Aurangzeb is loved by someone, then prostrate him from the corner! This behaviour is not 'secular'!" the editorial highlighted.