Congress and Shiv Sena, allies in the Maharashra government, are locked in a disagreement over renaming of Aurangabad city, The Indian Express reported on Sunday.
The Shiv Sena has rekindled its old demand of changing the name of Aurangabad (after Mughal ruler Aurangzeb) to Shambhajinagar (after Maratha ruler Shivaji’s son), in the lead up to the civic elections in the city.
“This demand was made by Balasaheb Thackeray,” Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut claimed on Sunday, according to NDTV. He changed the name to Sambhajinagar. Only the paper work is left.”
However, Maharashtra Congress President and the state’s Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat on Friday had said that the renaming was not part of the ruling alliance’s Common Minimum Programme and that his party will oppose the move, reported The Indian Express. Another state leader Sanjay Nirupam also echoed similar views on Saturday. “The government won’t work on personal agendas, but on the basis of the Common Minimum Programme,” he said.
The Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party, the third ally of the ruling combine, has not yet taken a stance on the matter. Amid speculations of clash within the alliance, Raut has expressed confidence that the matter will be resolved. “There is no rift within the Maha Vikas Aghadi partners,” he said, according to NDTV. “We will sit together and solve this issue.”
In its mouthpiece Saamana, the Shiv Sena also criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party for seeking gains out of the disagreement, NDTV reported. It said that the Congress’ opposition to the renaming is not new and so it was foolish to link the differences with the coalition government.
Meanwhile, members of the Maratha Kranti Morcha burnt an effigy of Thorat on Sunday in Aurangabad. Khaire Patil, the group’s president, said that they will stage a protest against the Congress.