The Rajasthan High Court on Friday set aside a state government order renaming the Rajiv Gandhi Seva Kendra as Atal Seva Kendra, the Hindustan Times reported.
The Vasundhara Raje government had issued a notification to change the name in December 2014, soon after the the Centre had announced the Bharat Ratna for Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Raje’s government had said that the re-naming was a tribute to Vajpayee.
The court passed the order in a petition filed by Congress leader and former legislator Sanyam Lodha. He had said that the move was not only unlawful but also disrespectful to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
On Friday, a single bench of Justice MN Bhandari held the state government’s December 28, 2014 order as void and also directed to Ministry of Rural Development to ensure that such a situation does not arise again. It also suggested that institutions be named after freedom fighters in an effort to avoid such controversies.
The Congress welcomed the move. “The BJP government was only renaming schemes started by the previous UPA government and trying to win appreciation of the people,” Rajasthan Congress Chief Sachin Pilot was quoted as saying.
Lodha said that the renaming showed the kind of petty politics that the Bharatiya Janata Party indulged in. “There are so many schemes the state government has started named after Deendayal Upadhyay,” Lodha said. “Any of those could have been named after Atal ji.”