Uddhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra today approved the renaming of Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar and Osmanabad as Dharashiv.
The tottering Uddhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra today approved the renaming of Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar and Osmanabad as Dharashiv in a last desperate step to assert its Maratha-Hindutva ideology.
Sambhaji was the eldest son of Chhatrapati Shivaji, the legendary Maratha ruler after whom the party has been named. Aurangabad got its name in the 17th century after Mughal emperor Aurangzeb against whom Shivaji had waged a long war. Renaming the city after Sambhaji, whose execution was ordered by Aurangzeb, has been a long-standing demand of the Shiv Sena.
Osmanabad, a city named after Hyderabad's last ruler Mir Osman Ali Khan, gets its new name, Dharashiv, from the 6th-century caves near the city.
The Maharashtra cabinet also decided to name the new airport in Navi Mumbai after the late DB Patil, a popular leader of the area who fought for the rights of the local people.
The proposal for the new names has been approved at a time when the Uddhav Thackeray government has been reduced to a minority and the Governor has asked for a floor test tomorrow.
Shiv Sena rebel leader Eknath Shind, who has left the Thackeray government along with 40 MLAs, has claimed that he has a majority in the House.
He has also been claiming that his team represents the true Shiv Sena and it is this battle over the party ideology that appears to have prompted Uddhav Thackeray to push through the proposal for changing the names of the two cities and the airport.
Meanwhile, the Uddhav Thackeray government has moved the Supreme Court to buy more time for the floor test in the House.