A Shiv Sena leader from Aurangabad in Maharashtra on Tuesday accused BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis of "neglecting" the demand to rename the largest city in Marathwada region as Sambhajinagar when he was chief minister of the state.
Recently, the BJP unit in Aurangabad raised the demand for renaming Aurangabad after Chhatrapati Sambhaji, son of 17th-century warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Chhatrapati Sambhaji was tortured to death by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.
Addressing reporters, Sena district president and MLC Ambadas Danve accused the BJP of "hypocrisy" over the demand.
Notably, the Sena had first made this demand decades ago. A proposal to this effect had been passed in the general body meeting of the AMC in June 1995, which was challenged by a Congress corporator in the high court and later supreme court.
"It's the Sena which has been repeatedly demanding that Aurangabad be renamed as Sambhajinagar. We had raised the demand with Devendra Fadnavis when he was chief minister, but the latter neglected it," Danve alleged.
He also termed as a "political stunt" the recent resignation of deputy mayor, who belongs to the BJP, of the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) for the renaming demand.
"If the BJP wants to walk out of the alliance, their corporators should have resigned from the AMC standing committee. Chairman of education and health committees in the AMC is from the BJP and still holds the post," he said.
Danve said even if BJP corporators resign, the Sena still has the "magic figure".
In the 113-member AMC, the Mayor's post is with the Sena which has 29 corporators while the BJP has 22 members, the AIMIM (25), the Congress (8), the NCP (4), and others (24).
After the resignation of the deputy mayor, a delegation of BJP leaders had met Mayor Nandkumar Ghodele, a Shiv Sena corporator, to demand the renaming of the city.
Danve said the party would take follow-up on the renaming demand with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who also heads the Sena.
Responding to a query, Danve said discussions are being held with the Congress and NCP for the election to the post of the chairman of Zilla Parishad.