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Aurangabad vs Sambhajinagar: Shiv Sena continues to lock horns with alliance partner Congress

Congress had recently opposed renaming of Aurangabad to Sambhajinagar.

Friction between the coalition partners in the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance in Maharashtra widens as Shiv Sena on Sunday took a jibe at its ally Congress and attacked it for being “secular” and opposing the name change of Aurangabad into Sambhajinagar.

Taking a dig at its own alliance partner Congress, Shiv Sena in its mouthpiece “Saamana” said that the renaming of Aurangabad might affect the vote bank of “secular parties” as the renaming will upset the Muslim society.

“India’s constitution was secular… Aurangzeb had a strong hatred for other religions. He tortured Sikhs and Hindus. Why should we pay attention to their relics? Who was Aurangzeb? At least Maharashtra does not need to explain this… Therefore, there is no reason for a true Marathi and hardcore Hindu person to have an attachment to Aurangzeb,” it said.

The article further said that a political controversy has erupted over the renaming of ‘Aurangabad’ to Sambhajinagar in the official documents of Marathwada. However, Secular parties like the Congress are not in favor to rename Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar. The renaming of Aurangabad will upset the Muslim society, that is, the minority and will affect the vote bank, which means that its secular image will be questioned, it read.

Aurangzeb was never secular, leaders opposing the name change should read history: Saamana

The editorial further asserted that there is a large section of people in Maharashtra who are in favour of the renaming. Does naming Aurangabad solve the problem of people’s development? the editorial questioned the Congress party saying that no trace of Aurangzeb should be kept, at least in Maharashtra.

“On the orders of Aurangzeb, Raja Sambhaji of Maharashtra was tortured and killed by Mughal chieftains and his dismembered body was thrown into an abandoned condition on the road near Pune,” the editorial said.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, who is the Executive Editor of the newspaper said even though he did not know why Congress is opposing, but Maharashtra CM has clearly said that it is Sambhajinagar and will remain so. It is a matter of people’s feelings, so we can discuss it but the decision has been taken, he added.

The editorial further said that leaders of Maharashtra to read Aurangzeb’s history again and highlighted that Aurangzeb was never secular.

“Aurangzeb was never ‘secular’. He wanted to expand the empire based on Islam… There cannot be a single city in Maharashtra in the name of such an Aurangzeb… Call it the pride of Maharashtra, otherwise, the history is known but if such an Aurangzeb is loved by someone, then prostrate him from the corner! This behaviour is not ‘secular’!” the editorial highlighted.

Controversy surrounding the renaming of Aurangabad to ‘Sambhaji Nagar’

An internal rift has erupted within the MVA alliance in Maharashtra over the renaming of Aurangabad to Sambhajinagar. The controversy was kicked up after the Shiv Sena, one of the parties of the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance of the Maharashtra government, dredged up the decades-old demand of renaming the city of Aurangabad to Sambhajinagar.

However, Shiv Sena’s alliance partner, Congress, opposed the demand, stating that it did not come under the ambit of the Common Minimum Programme(CMP) agreed upon by the Maha Vikas Aghadi partners.

The Shiv Sena, however, upped the ante, stating that the demand for the renaming of Aurangabad does not need to be in the CMP as it a popular demand and enjoys public support. It also published a scathing article in its mouthpiece Saamana wherein it remarked that Muslims in India do not regard Aurangzeb as their uncle and they would have no problems in renaming Aurangabad just like they had no issues with the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray also jumped into the controversy, referring to Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar. The CM’s official Twitter account repeatedly referred to Aurangabad as ‘Sambhajinagar’.

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