Amid growing demand from ascetics as well as party leaders to change the name of “Allahabad” to “Prayagraj”, BJP national president Amit Shah is likely to meet seers of Akhara Parishad over the issue during his visit to Allahabad on July 27, a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to arrive in Lucknow on a two-day tour.
The city is preparing for a grand Kumbh-2019 and Shah’s visit will come just three days after the state government cleared the proposal to build infrastructure on the land available with the four Akharas in Allahabad with an investment of about Rs 5 crore.
“It would be a one-day visit and apart from meeting the heads of different Akharas, Shah would also offer prayers at different temples and is likely to participate in the evening aarti at the ghat,” said a senior party leader.
When contacted, chief of Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad, Narendra Giri, told The Indian Express, “We have been assured by the government, including the chief minister, that before the upcoming mela, Allahabad would be given its original name ‘Prayag’. We have been informed that all the preparations have been made and the name change would be done after a cabinet clearance.”
He confirmed that they were informed of Shah’s visit and his scheduled meeting with the different Akharas chiefs. “It would be about an hour long visit and the focus is to ensure success of Kumbh mela 2019. He will offer Sangam pujan and also prayers at Hanuman temple for a successful Kumbh,” said Giri.
The Kumbh will take place just ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Recently, the state government tasked a high-level 51-member committee, to plan two-day visit of NRIs who are arriving for the Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas in Varanasi, to the Kumbh.
Recently, BJP Minister Sidhartha Nath Singh, who hails from Allahabad had also written to Governor Ram Naik, expressing demanding that Allahabad be renamed. In his letter dated July 23, 2018, Singh had sought his intervention.
The reason cited for the request was that in the “Vedic Grantha”, the name “Prayag” has been mentioned as a cultural center and that there is mention Prayag as the place where three rivers meet, has found a significant place in the ancient Hindu transcripts as well.
As a result, the visit of Shah becomes significant as sources inform that during meeting with Shah, even the heads of Akharas are also likely raise the issue before him.