Maharashtra Cabinet renames Aurangabad to Sambhaji Nagar, Osmanabad to Dharashiv

Mumbai, ( The Maharashtra Cabinet has approved the renaming of Aurangabad and Osmanabad to Sambhaji Nagar and Dharashiv, respectively. In addition, the name of Navi Mumbai Airport will be changed to DB Patil International Airport. The Congress Party wants Pune to be renamed Jijau Nagar and Navi Mumbai Airport to be renamed DB Patil.At the Maharashtra Cabinet Meeting, the Congress demands that Pune be renamed Jijau Nagar and that Navi Mumbai Airport be named after DB Patil.According to sources, two Cabinet Ministers and Congress leaders, Varsha Gaikwad and Aslam Shaikh, left the cabinet meeting chaired by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in the middle.

The Shiv Sena’s decision to raise the renaming issue comes at a time when the party is in a serious political crisis, with many of its MLAs deserting the party. The rebel MLAs have questioned the Shiv Sena’s commitment to Hindutva in recent days, claiming that the party is gradually drifting away from its core ideology.On May 8, 1988, Shiv Sena supremo late Balasaheb Thackeray announced that Aurangabad would be renamed Sambhaji Nagar after Sambhaji, Shivaji’s son who was killed by Aurangzeb. The corporation passed a resolution to do so in 1995, and the Shiv-Sena-led state government issued a notification seeking suggestions and objections on the matter.

Mushtaq Ahmed, a former AMC Congress councillor, challenged the notification in the Bombay High Court. While the Court dismissed the petition because no decision had been made, the renaming has remained a contentious issue that resurfaces ahead of every election.Aurangabad was one of the first major cities outside of the Mumbai-Thane belt that the Sena targeted in the late 1980s. The city’s 30 percent Muslim population provided fertile ground for polarisation, and soon after riots that resulted in the deaths of over 25 people, the Sena won elections to the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation in 1988.(HS)