Rajya Sabha proceedings were adjourned briefly on Friday after the Opposition SP and BSP protested against the government’s decision to allow renaming of Mughalsarai railway station in Uttar Pradesh after Jan Sangh leader Deen Dayal Upadhyay. SP leader Naresh Agrawal gave a notice under Rule 267 for suspension of Parliament business to initiate a discussion on the issue. “The government (is trying) to forcibly change Uttar Pradesh’s geography. The station is ages old. They are going to change New Delhi’s name too,” he said.
Dismissing the notice, Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien stated that the matter of renaming the iconic station could be discussed during Zero Hour.
SP party members, joined by those of Mayawati’s BSP, shouted slogans in protest, claiming that the station was being renamed after someone who had made “no contribution to the freedom struggle”. In response, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the Opposition parties wanted stations to be named after Mughals instead of Upadhyay, “a great thinker”.
SP members claimed that no railway station in India had been named after any personality, but Naqvi pointed out that Victoria Terminus in Mumbai had been renamed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus. Kurien pleaded with the members to return to their places and allow the Zero Hour to function. But the slogan-shouting continued. To break the impasse, he called Chhaya Verma (Congress) to speak. Kurien had earlier not allowed her to raise the issue of the agriculture forest land scam in Chhattisgarh saying she could give a Zero Hour notice to raise the issue.
There was a ruckus between the BJP members and the SP members for some time. SP members trooped into the well of the House shouting slogans and disrupting listed business, forcing Kurien to adjourn the proceedings for 10 minutes.
Mughalsarai railway station came into being in 1862 when East India Company linked Howrah to Delhi by rail. The Indian Express on Friday reported the Union Home Ministry’s move to give sanction to rename the station. The proposal for renaming was given by the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, in a bid to revive the legacy of Upadhyaya, who died in 1968 at the junction. Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir signed the order and same was conveyed to the UP government, MHA officials said.