The decision to rename ‘Aurangabad’ as ‘Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar’ was taken by the Maha Vikas Aghadi when its government was in the minority but the present dispensation has made it “foolproof”, said Maharashtra Eknath Shinde on Saturday.
He was speaking here about a notification issued on Friday night on the change of names of Aurangabad and Osmanabad districts to Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar and Dharashiv respectively. The districts are part of the Marathwada region.
“We have made it (renaming) foolproof. The earlier MVA government took the decision when they were in the minority and their government was about to fall. But we made it foolproof and there are hurdles over the renaming now,” said Shinde.
The decision to rename Aurangabad and Osmanabad was taken in the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government’s last cabinet meeting chaired by the then chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on June 29, 2022, just before he resigned following a rebellion by Shinde.
However, Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who were sworn in a day later, had said the Thackeray-led dispensation’s decision to rename these places was illegal as it was taken by it after the governor had asked it to prove majority in the state assembly.
In July last year, the Shinde government gave cabinet approval to rename Aurangabad and Osmanabad cities as Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar and Dharashiv respectively.
In the MVA government’s last cabinet meeting, Aurangabad was renamed as Sambhajinagar, but the Shinde government added ‘Chhatrapati’ prefix to it.
Aurangabad derives its name from the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, while Osmanabad was named for a 20th-century ruler of the princely state of Hyderabad.
Chhatrapati Sambhaji, the eldest son of warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, was the second ruler of the Maratha state founded by his father. Sambhaji Maharaj was executed on Aurangzeb’s orders in 1689.
Dharashiv, the name of a cave complex near Osmanabad, dates back to the 8th century as per some scholars.
The present government of Shinde-led Shiv Sena, BJP and an NCP faction under Ajit Pawar held a special cabinet meeting in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar on Saturday to mark the 75th anniversary of the Marathwada Liberation Day, celebrated on September 17 annually.
Shinde also announced a package of Rs 45,000 crore for the development of the Marathwada region apart from revised administrative sanctions for irrigation projects worth Rs 14,000 crore.
Leader of the Opposition in the legislative council Ambadas Danve accused the present government of trying to grab credit for the renaming.
Addressing a press conference, he said, “The renaming of Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar was first mooted by Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray. The decision was taken by Uddhav Thackeray. If the current rulers of the state want to take credit for this renaming, then why they didn’t rename the city between 2014 and 2019 when the Devendra Fadnavis government was in full majority.” Danve also slammed the state government over their announcements for Marathwada. “They are already a part of the state’s budget and nothing new has been announced. If we check the announcement list of today, it is the same as those made in 2016,” he said.
The Shiv Sena (UBT) leader also claimed that the chief minister had to cancel his stay in a private hotel after “we (opposition)” raised it.
Marathwada was once a part of the Nizam-ruled Hyderabad kingdom. It now comprises eight districts – Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar (earlier Aurangabad), Dharashiv (old name Osmanabad), Jalna, Beed, Latur, Nanded, Hingoli and Parbhani.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)