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Delhi green signal to Mughalsarai name change

The Centre today approved the Yogi Adityanath government's proposal to rename the Mughalsarai railway station in Uttar Pradesh after Jana Sangh leader Deen Dayal Upadhyay, pushing ahead with the BJP's intention to establish the party ideologue as a national icon.

By Our Special Correspondent
  • Published 5.08.17
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New Delhi, Aug. 4: The Centre today approved the Yogi Adityanath government's proposal to rename the Mughalsarai railway station in Uttar Pradesh after Jana Sangh leader Deen Dayal Upadhyay, pushing ahead with the BJP's intention to establish the party ideologue as a national icon.

The move sparked protests in the Rajya Sabha by the Opposition, which questioned what contribution Upadhyay had made to Mughalsarai to justify the renaming of the station after him.

The Samajwadi Party and a few others in the Opposition forced a brief adjournment during zero hour. Leaders of the Samajwadi Party, ousted from power by the BJP in the Uttar Pradesh elections earlier this year, said Mughalsarai was an iconic station and sought to know why it should be named after Upadhyay.

"The government wants to alter the geography of Uttar Pradesh.... Why do you want to change the name? It is famous all over the world," Samajwadi MP Naresh Agrawal said during zero hour.

"What is the contribution of Deen Dayal Upadhyay to Mughalsarai?" asked another Samajwadi MP, Neeraj Sekhar.

The BJP's Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi countered the argument by saying the station had been named after the Mughals and held up Upadhyay as "a great visionary" who had propounded "integral humanism".

"It is a Mughal name. Do you want a Mughal name?" parliamentary affairs minister Naqvi said. "Deen Dayal Upadhyay was the pioneer of integral humanism.... Will everything be named only after Gandhi and Nehru?" Naqvi said amid the din.

Naqvi pointed out that Mughalsarai was not the only station to be renamed and gave the example of the Victoria Terminus in Mumbai, rechristened Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus.

The Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh had proposed renaming the Mughalsarai station after Upadhyay to revive the legacy of the Jana Sangh leader whose body was found under mysterious circumstances on a platform at the junction in 1968.

Apart from the fact that he was found dead at the station, Opposition leaders argued the Jana Sangh leader had made no contribution to Mughalsarai.

Upadhyay was one of the most important leaders of the Jana Sangh, the forerunner of the BJP and leaders of the ruling party want to establish him as an icon to rival Nehru.

Upadhyay was mentioned alongside Mahatma Gandhi in President Ram Nath Kovind's speech in the Central Hall of Parliament after taking oath last month. In the speech, Upadhyay was equated with Gandhi while Nehru was not mentioned at all.