New Delhi: Rajya Sabha proceedings were adjourned for ten minutes on Friday, August 4, after the opposition Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party protested against the Modi government’s decision to allow the renaming of the Mughalsarai railway station in Uttar Pradesh after Deen Dayal Upadhyay.
According to an Indian Express report, the home ministry on August 3 approved the Adityanath-led UP government’s proposal to rename the station – one of the country’s oldest – after the Jan Sangh leader in a bid to revive Upadhyaya’s legacy.
SP leader Naresh Agarwal issued a notice under Rule 267 for the suspension of parliament business to initiate a discussion on the same, Scroll reported. “The government [is trying] to forcibly change Uttar Pradesh’s geography. The station is ages old. They are going to change New Delhi’s name too,” the SP leader said.
Deputy chairman P.J. Kurien, stated that the matter of renaming of the iconic railway station could be discussed during Zero Hour, dismissing the notice.
The Mughalsarai station was established near Varanasi in 1862 when the East India Railway Company linked Howrah to Delhi by rail.
According to NDTV, Agarwal’s party members, joined by those of Mayawati’s BSP, shouted slogans in protest, claiming that the station was being renamed after someone who had made “no contribution to the freedom struggle.”
“Change the nation’s name then… What was his contribution to the nation?”
In response, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that the opposition parties want stations to be named after Mughals instead of Upadhyay, “a great thinker.”
“This view is wrong.”
Varanasi’s railway station is, however, not the first one whose name the BJP has attempted to change. In November, the BJP government had filed a notification for the renaming of Mumbai’s Oshiwara railway station to Ram Mandir railway station. According to Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, since the area around the railway station was referred to as ‘Ram Mandir chowk’ due to the presence of a temple in the area, the renaming was justified.
(With PTI inputs)
Note: Mughalsarai station was established by the East India Rail Company and not the ‘East India Company’ as was wrongly stated in an earlier version of this story.