Mumbai: All is not well in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government. On Sunday, ruling partners Shiv Sena and Congress were engaged in a fresh verbal duel over the renaming of Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar. Shiv Sena Member of the Parliament (MP) Sanjay Raut said that Aurangabad is Sambhaji Nagar and will remain so for them "It is a matter of people's feelings. We can discuss it, but the decision has been taken."
Earlier, in the day, Raut, in his weekly column Rokhthok in the party’s mouthpiece Saamna, took a jibe at its ally Congress and attacked it for being ‘secular’ and opposing the name change. “The renaming of Aurangabad might affect the vote bank of ‘secular parties’. It will upset the Muslim society,” he said.
“India's constitution is 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 to have an attachment for Aurangzeb,” said Raut in his column. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray recently said that “Aurangazeb was not secular. Hence, the issue did not fall under the MVA's agenda.”
However, state Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat hit back and lashed out at Raut and Shiv Sena, saying that the number of advisers has been on the rise since the party clarified its position. However, those who have been in power with each other for the last five years are now doing politics of renaming.
“When Shiv Sena was in power in the central and state government, why didn't it remember the issue of renaming?” he asked. “Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have let down the people of Aurangabad despite being in power in the municipal corporation. The renaming issue is being raked up now to mislead the local people. Our ally in the state, the Shiv Sena, is worried about its votes. Hence, it has initiated this 'Saamana' (match) of renaming,” Thorat claimed.