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As Allahabad Becomes Prayagraj, BJP Follows in BSP and SP's Footsteps With Eye on 2019 Polls

The BJP government had earlier renamed two railway stations - one near Agra which was called Farah and another that used to be known as Mughalsarai junction - after the party ideologue Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya.

News18.com

Updated:October 17, 2018, 7:08 AM IST
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As Allahabad Becomes Prayagraj, BJP Follows in BSP and SP's Footsteps With Eye on 2019 Polls
Illustration by Mir Suhail/News18.com
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Allahabad officially became 'Prayagraj' on Tuesday, making it the third big name change that the Yogi Adityanath-led government has effected in Uttar Pradesh since coming to power one-and-half years ago.

The BJP government had earlier renamed two railway stations - one near Agra which was called Farah and another that used to be known as Mughalsarai junction - after the party ideologue Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya.

While some have been criticising the move to rename the city with which it has been associated for hundreds of years and been referred to as such in memorable Indian verses, in international travelogues, by locals, by the British and then by successive central and state governments, the fact is that BJP is not the only party to have renamed UP's towns and cities.

Mayawati-led BSP has in the recent past changed the names of most number of districts in the state to Dalit and Bahujan icons.

For instance, in her tenure, Akbarpur became Ambedkar Nagar, Sambhal - Bhim Nagar, Kanpur Dehat - Rama Bai Nagar, Kasganj - Kanshiram Nagar, Noida - Gautam Buddha Nagar, Amroha - Jyotiba Phule Nagar, Bhadohi - Sant Ravi Das Nagar, Khalilabad - Sant Kabir Nagar, Hathras - Mahamaya Nagar, Amethi - Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Nagar, Shamli - Prabuddh Nagar and Hapur - Panchsheel Nagar.

The SP under Akhilesh Yadav on coming to power undid several of those changes. He restored the names of Amroha, Sambhal, Hapur, Shamli, Kasganj, Hathras and Amethi, claiming that the new names were creating confusion and that the representatives from these places had themselves made the demand of restoring names.

SP wasn't immune to the practice of leaving their imprint behind by ways of names. Though the party did most of this work, i.e. using names of its own ideological icons, mostly in renaming of schemes.

Akhilesh Yadav's father, former Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, did name two newly created districts, but considering the population in those places, he gave it names of Dalit icons only. Kushinagar came up in East UP's Kasia Bazaar area and Siddharthnagar came up in North East UP's Basti division.

The battle between names of the two parties did continue elsewhere. Mayawati created parks and monuments in the name of Ambedkar, Ramabai Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram. SP created Lohia and Janeshwar Mishra Park.

BSP named development schemes in areas with substantial Dalit populations after Babasahed Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram. Akhilesh Yadav named his own development schemes after Ram Manohar Lohia and Janeshwar Mishra.

In view of the approaching elections, the ongoing renaming drive by the BJP led government in Uttar Pradesh is likely to see more changes being done in the names of Savarkar, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya.
| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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