The Union government has approved the renaming of Maharashtra’s Aurangabad city as `Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar’ and that of Osmanabad city as `Dharashiv’.
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis shared the news on Twitter.
Aurangabad derives its name from Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, while Osmanabad was named for a 20th century ruler of the princely state of Hyderabad.
Chhatrapati Sambhaji, the eldest son of warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, was the second ruler of the Maratha state founded by his father. Sambhaji Maharaj was executed on Aurangzeb’s orders in 1689.
Dharashiv, the name of a cave complex near Osmanabad, dates back to the 8th century as per some scholars.
Hindu right-wing organisations had been demanding renaming of the two cities for long.
Fadnavis tweeted two letters from the Ministry of Home Affairs to the deputy secretary of the state General Administration Department dated February 24.
The letters stated that the Centre had no objection to the change in the names of these two central Maharashtra cities.
Fadnavis thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for the decision.
The state government headed by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde ‘did what was promised ‘, he said.
Notably, to rename Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar and Osmanabad as Dharashiv was the last cabinet decision of the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government which collapsed last June following Shinde’s rebellion against Uddhav Thackeray.
The new government headed by Shinde scrapped the cabinet decision and took a fresh decision. Reacting to news, Aurangabad MP and All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Imtiaz Jaleel tweeted that they will show their strength for Aurangabad. ”Aurangabad is, was and will always be our city. Now wait for our show of strength for Aurangabad. A massive morcha for our beloved city! Get ready Aurangabadis to defeat these forces (BJP) playing politics in the name of our city. We condemn & we will fight,” he tweeted.
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Ambadas Danve said the renaming was a victory of Shiv Sena founder late Bal Thackeray’s stand.
Danve, leader of opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council, tweeted that Thackeray had ”renamed” the city of Aurangabad as Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar way back on May 9, 1988. ”The name of the person (Aurangzeb) who broke the temple of Kashi Vishweshwar has been erased,” he wrote.