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Yogi forgot Faizabad, Allahabad are divisions

In its hurry to rename them, UP govt forgot that the two are not just districts

By Piyush Srivastava in Lucknow
  • Published 14.11.18, 3:23 AM
  • Updated 14.11.18, 7:46 AM
  • 2 mins read
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On a visit of Allahabad on October 13, Adityanath had announced the plan to rename Allahabad district and city as Prayagraj (File picture)

Not merely the Faizabad and Allahabad districts but wider regions have been officially renamed as Ayodhya and Prayagraj, respectively, according to a decision taken by the Uttar Pradesh cabinet on Tuesday.

When chief minister and BJP leader Yogi Adityanath had announced that the names of Faizabad and Allahabad would be changed, it was assumed that he was referring to the districts and the specific city in the case of Allahabad.

But in the haste to push through the changes in the face of disenchantment among sadhus over the slow pace of developments linked to the Ayodhya temple plan, the administration did not appear to have realised that both Faizabad and Allahabad are divisions too.

A division encompasses several districts. For instance, the Allahabad division has four districts — Allahabad, Kaushambi, Pratapgarh and Fatehpur. Now the division, the Allahabad district as well as city will be officially known as Prayagraj, but the names of the three other districts will remain the same.

The Faizabad division has five districts — Faizabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Amethi, Barabanki and Sultanpur. The division and the Faizabad district will be formally called Ayodhya while the names of the four other districts will not change.

Responding to the demand of the sadhus of Ayodhya, chief minister Adityanath had announced the change of name at a public meeting in the temple town on November 6, on the eve of Diwali.

On a visit of Allahabad on October 13, Adityanath had announced the plan to rename Allahabad district and city as Prayagraj. Three days later, the cabinet had approved the plan.

At Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, the name-change scope was widened to cover the Allahabad division, too. Since the boundaries of the districts are not being redrawn, the state cabinet can incorporate the changes in the names without the Centre playing any role. Sources attributed the haste to the government’s eagerness to jettison the Muslim names of the districts before the Ardh Kumbh Mela, commencing from January next year.

Allahabad High Court on Tuesday rejected a PIL against renaming of the Allahabad district and the city. The Lucknow bench will hear a similar petition on November 19. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice C.D. Singh refused to entertain the PIL by Sunita Sharma, a local lawyer. The court suggested the petitioner approach the government.

However, hearing has been posted on November 19 on a similar petition filed in the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court by Harishankar Pandey, a retired official.

The division bench of Justices Vikram Nath and Rajesh Singh Chauhan has issued a notice to the state government, seeking a reply to the claim of the petitioner that the government was supposed to invite objections from the residents of a revenue district before changing its identity.

A government official later said no rule related to the revenue act had been violated.

“Objections are invited if the boundary of the revenue district is changed or the land of one district is included in another,” the official said.

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