Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday said there was nothing new in referring to Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar. His statement comes amid Congress’s stiff opposition to renaming Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar, after the elder son of warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji.
When asked about the criticism by Shiv Sena’s ruling allies Congress and NCP for referring to Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar on the chief minister’s official Twitter handle, Thackeray asked, “What is new in that? We have been referring to Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar for several years. Aurangazeb was not secular. The word secular does not suit him,” he added.
The Shiv Sena president was speaking to reporters at his personal residence ‘Matoshree’ in Mumbai after inducting two BJP leaders from Nashik into his party. Aurangabad, once the headquarters of the Dakkhan (Deccan) province during the Mughal empire, derives its name from Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.
Reacting to the chief minister’s remarks, state Congress chief and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said, “Renaming a city brings no difference in the lives of the people. There is no development in it. We will convey our stand to the chief minister.”
In 1995, the Shiv Sena had first demanded that Aurangabad be renamed as Sambhajinagar. A proposal to that effect was passed in the general body meeting of the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation in June 1995, which was challenged by a Congress corporator in the High Court and later in the Supreme Court.
Two days ago, the Maharashtra Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), in one of the tweets about cabinet decisions, had mentioned Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar. However, Thorat had objected to it saying that the Directorate of Information and Publicity should not rename cities on its own and that it should remember that official work is a legal document.