Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday decided that he will write to the Centre, proposing to rename Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar as the state government does not have the jurisdiction to do so. This comes amid firm objection from the Congress party, the Shiv Sena’s ally in the Maha Vikas Aghadi.
The Chief Minister’s statement came as a written response to a starred question asked by BJP legislator Yogesh Sagar at the state Assembly. The question was regarding whether the state government received a proposal on renaming Aurangabad in March 2020 and the action taken on it. Thackeray replied, ““The government received a detailed proposal from Divisional Commissioner of Aurangabad on renaming Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar on March 4, 2020.”
The Chief Minister further said that the Maharashtra government “will seek opinion from the law and judiciary department and accordingly, with all proper documentation, submit the proposal to the Centre.”
In 1995, when the Shiv Sena-led government was in power, a draft notification was issued by the revenue and urban development departments on November 9, however, it was challenged by then Congress corporator Mushtaq Ahmed at the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court, which rejected his petitions, Thackeray elaborated.
The Congress leader then went to the Supreme Court against it and the top court ordered a status quo on January 17, 1996, he said.
Then in 2001, as the Congress-NCP came to power, the state government withdrew the draft notification as it “cannot take a final decision on renaming a village or city”. The Supreme Court finally dismissed the case after the state cancelled all notifications related to the renaming of Aurangabad.
“In June 2001, during the Congress-led government, the state cabinet decided to withdraw the draft notifications that resulted in dismissal of the petitions in the SC. Considering the judicial background of the issue, the remarks from the law and judiciary department are being sought. With the remarks of the law and judiciary department, a proposal will be sent to the Centre after getting other required clearances,” Thackeray said.
The Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition partners Shiv Sena and Congress have been in a clash over the renaming of Aurangabad city as Sambhaji Nagar.
The two allies have been at loggerhead over the issue for over three months since the Sena raised the decade-old issue to rename Aurangabad city as Sambhaji Nagar. The Congress has opposed the move with its leaders calling it an issue outside the purview of the common minimum programme (CMP) and that renaming cities will not ensure development.