Updated: October 17, 2018 7:00:31 am
In what is being seen as a move to push its Hindutva agenda before the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday officially changed the name of Allahabad district to Prayagraj. The government said that other institutes named after the district would soon follow suit.
The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in the state capital. Government spokesperson and Cabinet minister Sidhartha Nath Singh said that the name-change was a longstanding demand of the people. The revenue board, he said, was tasked with looking into relevance of the demand.
An official statement release by the government said, “The board researched documents and found that the there were 14 Prayags in the country but only the one here, also known as King of all Prayags (hence, Prayagraj) was changed to Allahabad.” “There was a delusion that the place was always called Allahabad and so the revenue board suggested that in order to correct this delusion, it would be reasonably legal to change the name to the original name.”
Indicating the possible change of name of Allahabad University as well as Allahabad High Court, Singh said, “There are some central institutes, organisations named after Allahabad… There is the high court, railway station… letters would be sent to them for the same and to take the process forward.”
The opposition parties, however, have criticised the government’s move to change the name of Allahabad. Earlier, the Congress said the move would be akin to changing history. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav had tweeted that the BJP government only wanted to show that they were working by renaming Allahabad. UP Congress chief Raj Babbar said that the BJP should have shown the same eagerness in ensuring cleanliness of Ganga.
Reacting to the criticism, Singh said, “We are only giving back the name which the place had for 500 years… This would preserve the vedic and pauranik pehchan (historical identity). Those who are objecting should think about that.” The JD(U) extended its support to the government’s decision. “We support it,” said JD(U) general secretary K C Tyagi, while replying to a question at a press conference in New Delhi and backed the claim that the city was known as Prayagraj earlier.
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