Shiv Sena, Congress engaged in verbal duel over renaming Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar

Mumbai: A verbal duel between ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) partners Shiv Sena and Congress over renaming Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar continues. Sena MP Sanjay Raut said, “Thirty years ago, Balasaheb Thackeray gave the name Sambhaji Nagar. Only paper work is left now. When all the MVA allies sit together and talk, the issue would get resolved. The renaming of Aurangabad was not a political issue.’’

He further stated that Congress opposition to rename Aurangabad won't affect the alliance. Raut expressed confidence that the issue would be resolved when all the MVA allies – Sena, NCP and Congress- sit together and talk.

On the other hand, state Congress president and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat reiterated the party's opposition saying that how by renaming the cities will change the lives of ordinary people? “On the contrary, it will create social animosity which will not be beneficial, it is not our goal. We will discuss this in the MVA,’’ he noted.

On Sena’s statement that Congress will adore Chhatrapati Shivaji and Chhatrapati Sambhaji and not Aurangzeb, Thorat said, “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj are our deities and places of worship. There is no reason to doubt this."

‘’Some cities in Uttar Pradesh were renamed, but did it make a difference?’’ Thorat asked. Without naming the BJP, he criticized that some people are doing politics on emotive issues.

Earlier, Shiv Sena in its mouthpiece Saamna said, "The Congress has opposed the proposal of renaming Aurangabad to Sambhaji Nagar. 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." "Even if the name has not been changed in the government records, Shiv Sena supremo late Balasaheb Thackeray had renamed Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar when there was Congress's chief minister in the State. The people had also accepted it," it said.

A resolution 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.

Shiv Sena led a scathing attack against its estranged ally BJP saying, "But some people feel that the issue of renaming Aurangabad will create friction within the ruling alliance."

Further, Sena said state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil asked that if Allahabad's name can be changed to Prayagraj, Faizabad's to Ayodhya, why cant Aurangabad's name be changed to Sambhaji Nagar. We want to ask why the party did not do so when it was in power in Maharashtra," the Sena added.

"Any state requires a foundation of self-respect and even the Congress will agree that Aurangazeb was not a secular person. The Muslims in Maharashtra have stood behind the Shiv Sena. They want development and welfare," it said.

"It is an insult to the memory of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj that a city in Maharashtra should bear Aurangazeb's name, who brutally killed Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj," it said.

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