Lucknow: The Yogi Adityanath government’s proposed move to rename ‘Allahabad’ as ‘Prayagraj’ ahead of the Kumbh Mela has got opposition parties fuming, with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav blaming the CM for taking credit by just renaming cities.
“Raja Harshvardhan made ‘Prayag Kumbh’ great by offering donations, but today’s rulers are trying to take credit for the work just by renaming the city to ‘Prayagraj’,” the former chief minister tweeted on Monday. “They (BJP) have even re-named ‘Ardh Kumbh’ as ‘Kumbh’. This mocks our tradition and belief.”
राजा हर्षवर्धन ने अपने दान से ‘प्रयाग कुम्भ’ का नाम किया था और आज के शासक केवल ‘प्रयागराज’ नाम बदलकर अपना काम दिखाना चाहते हैं. इन्होंने तो ‘अर्ध कुम्भ’ का भी नाम बदलकर ‘कुम्भ’ कर दिया है. ये परम्परा और आस्था के साथ खिलवाड़ है. — Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) October 15, 2018
The Congress, too, hit out at the ruling dispensation.
Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson Onkarnath Singh said changing the name of the historic city to ‘Prayagraj’ is an attempt to toy with the history of the nation.
“There is already an area which is called ‘Prayag’, there was no need to rename ‘Allahabad’ as ‘Prayagraj’. This decision is an attempt to disturb and toy with the history of the nation. Allahabad has its own historic importance and changing the name of the city will definitely not be accepted by the people of the country,” Singh said in a statement on Saturday.
Yogi Adityanath had announced on Saturday that there is a proposal to rename Allahabad as Prayagraj ahead of the 2019 Kumbh Mela. “The honourable governor has already given his approval and if there is a consensus, I think the name will be changed soon,” he had said.
Allahabad’s ancient name was ‘Prayag’, but was changed after 16th-century Mughal emperor Akbar built a fort near ‘Sangam’, the holy confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. He named the fort and its neighbourhood ‘Ilahabad’. Later, Akbar's grandson Shah Jahan renamed the entire city as ‘Allahabad’. But the area near the ‘Sangam’, the site of the Kumbh Mela, continues to be known as ‘Prayag’.
“Prayag is where Lord Brahma performed the first yagna. The confluence of two rivers is a 'prayag', and in Allahabad three rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati meet. Hence, it is the king of 'prayags'. That is why it is 'Prayagraj',” the chief minister said explaining the root of the name.
The Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government in the state had earlier changed the name of railway station ‘Mughalsarai Junction’ as ‘Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Junction’. Also, ‘Mughalsarai’ was made ‘Pt Deen Dayal Upadhyay Nagar’, after the noted RSS ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyay.
Last year, the seers of different akharas had met CM Yogi in Lucknow and had urged him to change the name of ‘Allahabad’ as ‘Prayagraj’. "We have requested the chief minister to change Allahabad's name to Prayagraj. We are sure that the chief minister will accept our demand," Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad (ABAP) head Mahant Narendra Giri had told reporters.