All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Imtiaz Jaleel has demanded a referendum on the Eknath Shinde-led Maharashtra government's move to rename Aurangabad as Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, as he said that only people can take a decision on the name change and not any leader sitting in Delhi or Mumbai.
The Union government last month approved the renaming of Aurangabad city as 'Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar' and that of Osmanabad city as 'Dharashiv'. Aurangabad derives its name from Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, while Osmanabad was named after a 20th century ruler of the princely state of Hyderabad.
AIMIM MP Imtiaz Jaleel, who represents the Aurangabad Lok Sabha constituency, on Thursday night led a candle march from the district collector office to Jubilee Park here against the decision to rename the city.
Addressing the participants, Mr Jaleel said, "Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena were in power during 2014-2019. That time they did not rename the city, but when his government was about to go, Uddhav Thackeray remembered that the dream of his late father (Bal Thackeray) has to be fulfilled." Renaming Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar and Osmanabad as Dharashiv was the last cabinet decision of the Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)-Congress government that collapsed in June last year following Mr Shinde's rebellion against Mr Thackeray.
The new government headed by Eknath Shinde scrapped the Mr Thackeray-led cabinet decision and took a fresh decision to rename Aurangabad as Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar. That decision was taken by the two-member cabinet of CM Shinde and his deputy Devendra Fadnavis.
Mr Jaleel said, "Only the CM and the Deputy CM took the decision of changing the name of Aurangabad city." "No leader sitting in Mumbai, Delhi...no matter how big they are, can decide about renaming any city in the country. The decision should be through a public poll. A referendum should be held on this," the AIMIM's Maharashtra unit chief said.
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