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AIMIM Takes On Sharad Pawar Over Aurangabad Name Change; Flags 'Rs.1000 Crore' Cost

The row over the Maharashtra government's move to change the name of Aurangabad refused to subside with AIMIM openly castigating NCP supremo Sharad Pawar. 

Written By
Akhil Oka
AIMIM, Sharad Pawar

Image: PTI/ANI


The row over the Maharashtra government's move to change the name of Aurangabad refused to subside with AIMIM openly castigating NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar. Speaking to the media on July 10, Sharad Pawar claimed that the Uddhav Thackeray-led Cabinet decided to rename Aurangabad and Osmanabad as Sambhajinagar and Dharashiv respectively without prior consultation. Moreover, he stressed that this was not a part of Maha Vikas Aghadi's Common Minimum Programme. However, AIMIM MP Imtiaz Jaleel dubbed this statement "laughable".

He highlighted that NCP ministers Jayant Patil and Dhananjay Munde as well as Ashok Chavan and Balasaheb Thorat of Congress hadn't opposed the proposal despite being present in the Cabinet meeting. Jaleel was quoted as saying by PTI, "Pawar knows the people of Aurangabad have not liked the renaming decision. That is why he has come here (Aurangabad) to clarify his party's stand". 

Maintaining that the AIMIM was opposing renaming Aurangabad from an economic perspective, he said, "There are many people who are making it a Hindu-Muslim issue. This is not about Hindus and Muslims. A person's identity is linked to the city. If you change the name, how much money will be spent on this? I have researched myself. If the name of a small city is changed, it costs a minimum of Rs.500 crore. A secretary in Delhi told me that changing the name of a mid-level city like Aurangabad will put a burden of Rs.1000 crore on the government."

"If they change the name of Aurangabad, I will have to change my Aadhaar card, PAN card, passport, identity card and the board of my shop. You will have to stand in a queue. It is not the case that Pawar Sahab, Ashok Chavan Sahab, or Uddhav Sahab are assuring that no one will have to stand in a queue as we have taken this decision," Jaleel elaborated. 

The demand for renaming Aurangabad

Aurangabad was a prominent Mughal city in the Deccan region and derives its name from the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. On the other hand, Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj, the son of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, was tortured to death by Aurangzeb. In 1995, a proposal was passed in the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation to rename the city to Sambhajinagar. However, it was challenged by Congress corporator Mushtaq Ahmed in the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court. As his plea was rejected by the HC, Ahmed moved the Supreme Court which stayed the process of renaming the city. 

Incidentally, it was Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray who had publicly promised to rename Aurangabad in August 2015. Welcoming the New Delhi Municipal Council’s decision to rename Aurangzeb Road in Delhi as Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Road, Thackeray called for Aurangabad to be renamed as Sambhajinagar. He assured that requisite resolutions would be passed in this regard as Shiv Sena was in power both at the Centre and in Maharashtra. 

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