BJP, Shiv Sena get into war over Aurangabad renaming

BJP, Shiv Sena get into war over Aurangabad renaming

Over the last weekend,  state BJP President Chandrakant Patil, during his visit to Aurangabad, renewed the demand for renaming it

Devendra Fadanvis and State BJP president Chandrakant Patil (left), Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Shiv Sena leader Aditya Thackeray (right) (PTI Photo)

A bitter war-of-words has started between BJP and its old ally Shiv Sena over the long-pending demand and proposal to rename Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar.
The historic town of Aurangabad is located in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra.

The Aurangabad district is also the tourism capital of the state with UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Ajanta and Ellora and mediaeval structures like Bibi ka Maqbara.

Mughal emperor Aurangzeb had renamed the city as Aurangabad in 1653. However, popular demand is to name it as Sambhaji Nagar after Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj, who was tortured to death at the behest of Aurangzeb in 1689. Sambhai Maharaj was son of legendary Maratha warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

Over the last weekend,  state BJP President Chandrakant Patil, during his visit to Aurangabad, renewed the demand for renaming it. 

"There is a petition pending in the Supreme Court. The Shiv Sena must speed it up," said Patil, who is popularly known as Dada.

"We are descendents of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Sambhaji Maharaj, not of Aurangzeb. The place should be named after 'dharmaveer' Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj and not an attacker like Aurangzeb," said Patil,  who is a close aide of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

The Shiv Sena, however, hit back at Patil. "Aurangabad was renamed Sambhaji Nagar by late Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray," said an editorial in Saamana,  the Shiv Sena mouthpiece, on Monday.

This, in fact, was the maiden editorial, after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's wife Rashmi Thackeray, took over as Editor of Saamana. "Why you (BJP) renamed Aurangabad? Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has changed name of cities like Allahabad (to Prayagraj)," it said.

It also accused the BJP of playing politics over nationalism and failing to confer Bharat Ratna on late revolutionary freedom fighter Veer Savarkar and not laying brick for grand memorial of Shivaji Maharaj in Arabian Sea. 

The editorial also lashed out at the BJP for comparing Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Shivaji Maharaj. The editorial likened Patil to "Dadamiyan". 

It is pertinent to mention here that the polls to Aurangabad Municipal Corporation is scheduled in April. In the 113-seat AMC,  the Shiv Sena has a strength of 29,  followed by AIMIM 25,  BJP 22, Congress 8,  NCP 4 and Independent/Others 24.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, four-time Shiv Sena MP Chandrakant Khaire, a close aide of the Thackeray family, lost the elections to journalist-turned-politician Imitaz Jaleel of AIMIM.

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