Shastri or Upadhyay? Congress and BJP-RSS spar over rechristening of Mughalsarai town, its railway junction

The BJP government is keen to rename the town as Deen Dayal Upadhyay Nagar and the railway junction as Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Railway Station after the RSS ideologue. The opposing Congress faction, meanwhile, wants that the town should take its name from former prime minister and Congress leader Lal Bahadur Shastri.

Written by Kanishka Singh | Published: June 8, 2017 5:02 pm
Mughalsarai, Mughalsarai railway station, indian railways, UP Mughalsarai, Mughalsarai station, station Mughalsarai, Mughalsarai station master, Uttar Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh news, indian Express Mughalsarai Junction is the fourth busiest railway station in the country. Between 2: 30 am and 5 am is the only time the station, where every train that crosses stops, rests. (Source: Express photo by Vishal Srivastava)

Two factions, one backed by the RSS-BJP and the other by the Congress, are at loggerheads over the renaming of the town of Mughalsarai and its iconic Mughalsarai Railway Junction. The BJP government is keen to rename the town as Deen Dayal Upadhyay Nagar and the railway junction as Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Railway Station after the RSS ideologue. The opposing Congress faction, meanwhile, wants that the town should take its name from former prime minister and Congress leader Lal Bahadur Shastri.

Though the move to rename the town is stalled at the city council level, the rechristening of the railway station has reached the state government.

Both the leaders have significant links with the town and the railway junction. Upadhyay was one of the most influential leaders of his time and his vision was part of what founded the present day RSS and BJP. He died in 1968 and his body was found on a platform of the Mughalsarai Railway Station in 1968 under mysterious circumstances. The town, on the other hand, is where Shastri was born. The former prime minister was, for however small a time he served in office, one of the most respected and decisive leaders of his time.

This is the birth centenary year of Upadhyay and the BJP and the RSS have been busy commemorating him. On Tuesday, the UP Cabinet wrote to the Union Railways Ministry to change the name of the station as part of the centenary celebrations.

At the same time, there was a protest led by the city Congress Committee president Ramji Gupta and Shastri Janamsthal Seva Nyas convenor Krishna Gupta at Shastri Park in Mughalsarai on Wednesday. The agitating crowd even tried to burn the effigies of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, but their protest dispersed after police intervention.

“First of all, we are not in favour of changing the name of the town or the railway junction at all. If the BJP or the RSS wants to change the names after Deen Dayal Upadhyay, they should do it where he had a contribution. Not here. This place is the birthplace of Lal Bahadur Shastri. He has had a huge impact on the lives of every citizen and it is seen even today,” Ramji Gupta told

Gupta said they were on an indefinite strike at Shastri Park in support of their demands.

“Our agitation will continue till our demand is not met. Either the move to rename is revoked or names are kept after Shastriji. Nobody from RSS or their political friends built Mughalsarai. It was Kamalmati Tripathi who built the infrastructure here, who built this junction, who boosted jobs in Mughalsarai? “We have told our [UP] Pradesh Congress chief about the development and we requested for the intervention of senior leadership,” Gupta added.

A special session of the Mughalsarai Municipal Board was held on Monday where the BJP moved the proposal for the renaming of Mughalsarai town to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Nagar. Corporators of the SP, Congress and independent corporators protested and stalled the proposal from being passed.

RSS and its associate organisations have referred to Mughalsarai as Deen Dayal Upadhyay Nagar for nearly four decades now. The demands for memorials of Shastri are also long standing.

The name Mughalsarai is made of the words Mughal and Sarai (public resting place). In the Mughal era, caravans travelling from east India towards the north would take the Grand Trunk Road. Their stopping place used to be just between Chandauli Majhwar and Jeonathpur–this is the present day Mughalsarai near Varanasi. For the same reason, many other towns across India have the same name.

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  1. Shamsul Islam
    Aug 5, 2017 at 9:47 am
    In this context it would be interesting to know few details about 'murder of ' DDU at Mughalsarai railway station on February 1, 1968. A renowned pracharak/theoretician pf RSS, Late Balraj Madhok, who preceded Deendayal as president of Bhartiya JanaSangh, levelled serious allegations against few of his old colleagues of RSS/Jana Sangh for conspiring to kill Deendayal. According to Madhok's autobiography: “He was killed by a hired assassin. But conspirators who sponsored this killing were those self-seekers and leaders with criminal bent of mind of Sangh-Jan Sangh” He further wrote that the murder of DDU was not undertaken by Communists or some robber but planned by those who were kept out of the leading positions of the BJS by DDU Vajpayee Nana Deshmukh. “He was constantly ensuring that ill-reputed people should get no career advancement in BJS, that the re tion of the organization is not tarnished." [Zindagi Ka Safar3:Deen Dayal Upadhyay Ki Hatya Se Indira Gandhi Ki Hatya tak}
    1. m
      Jun 8, 2017 at 11:48 pm
      dear sir,'mughul sarai' railway station is very famous for thiefs chain snacthing happens when the halted train about to depart and people from south are the targets for thiefs so instruction always given to the pilgrimage public by travel companies&railway board which couldbe seen even today travellers inside compartments requests are not to open doors or windows when train passes through mohul sarai to anywhere,especially almost passenger trains there won't be any lights fan etc.with such a journey one has during night hours it is hightime to rectify all these fears after renaming it deen dayal or lalbhagadur sasthri,mostly crowded with muslim population it is better to make them literate and understand how people are frightened to go by railways&many people prefer by bus routes to a etc,for tourism,'deen dayal'a nation leader freedom fighter will not be confused with the many existance name of lal bagadur sasthri in large,out of fear complex the 'mohul sarai'name has tobe changed
      1. S
        Jun 8, 2017 at 10:13 pm
        There shouldn't have any doubt regarding the greatness of two leaders; but Deenadayaalji is far superior when we consider their love for this Nation. There for Government should gave the name of eenadayalji. Not only that there are many roads and ins utions are in the name of Shasthryji
        1. Faku Faking
          Jun 8, 2017 at 11:36 pm
          You shameless chadeea will change the name of India to deem dayal chade
        2. Vinayak Upadhyaya
          Jun 8, 2017 at 8:31 pm
          UPA , SP , BSP were in power for many years and why these parties not renamed mughalsarai station on the name of Shastri ji , If BJP wants to name station on Deendayal upadhyaya then opposition has no rights to object it . Actually congress has been interested only on hi family and there is no value of other leaders .
          1. A
            Oct 2, 2017 at 1:42 pm
            You can name your father and g father deen dayal.
          2. R
            Jun 8, 2017 at 8:22 pm
            Stupid congies ruled India/UP for decades. Why didn't they think renaming this place after Shastri, whom they deliberately sidelined all these decades? They were naming every thing after Nehru family members be it roads, parks,bridges,airports,sea ports, museums,govt programs,universities,schools,colleges,city/toen circles, govt built housing colonies list goes on. Now just to block naming this after great nationalist leader like Deendayan Upadhaya whom they conspired to murder in cahoot with Sheikh Abdullah is ridiculous. MAy be BJP should offer to rename more important places liek airport/universities named after Nehru clan to Shastri's name and see their reaction!
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