Aurangabad renaming row: Sena says Cong's stand won't affect govt

Congress on Saturday reiterated its opposition to renaming Aurangabad even as its ally Shiv Sena said the name change would happen soon but the issue would not rock the coalition government in Maharashtra.

Maharashtra minister and state Congress chief BalasahebThorat had said two days ago that he would strongly oppose renaming the Aurangabad city in central Maharashtra as Sambhajinagar.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Thorat said the party revers ChhatrapatiShivajiMaharaj as well as his son and successor ChhatrapatiSambhaji, but the issue of renaming should not be used for “spreading hatred”.

It was the Shiv Sena, which had first made the demand to rename Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar over two decades ago.

A proposal to that effect had been passed in the general body meeting of the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) in June 1995, which was challenged by a Congress corporator in the high court and later in the Supreme Court.

An editorial on Saturday in the Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said the Congress has opposed the proposal to rename Aurangabad which has “made the (opposition) BJP happy”.

“But the Congress’s opposition to the proposal is not new and therefore, linking it to the MahaVikasAghadi government is foolishness.”

“Thorat announced that if any proposal for renaming Aurangabad comes up before the MVA government, his party would oppose it. It is his claim. After his statement, BJP leaders started demanding that the Sena should make its stand clear on the issue. But the Sena has not changed its stance on it.”