New Delhi: Ahead of the Kumbh Mela this year, the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet on Tuesday cleared the proposal to rename ‘Allahabad’ as ‘Prayagraj’.
“Allahabad to be called Prayagraj from today,” Siddharth Nath Singh, the state health minister, told news agency ANI.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, on a trip to Allahabad on Saturday, announced there was a proposal to rename the city, amid protest from opposition parties.
Earlier, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav blamed the CM for taking credit by just renaming cities. “Raja Harshvardhan made ‘Prayag Kumbh’ great by offering donations, but today’s rulers are trying to take credit for the work just by renaming the city to ‘Prayagraj’,” the former chief minister tweeted on Monday. “They (BJP) have even re-named ‘Ardh Kumbh’ as ‘Kumbh’. This mocks our tradition and belief.”
The Congress, too, hit out at the ruling dispensation.
Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson Onkarnath Singh said changing the name of the historic city to ‘Prayagraj’ is an attempt to toy with the history of the nation.
Allahabad’s ancient name was ‘Prayag’, but was changed after 16th-century Mughal emperor Akbar built a fort near ‘Sangam’, the holy confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. He named the fort and its neighbourhood ‘Ilahabad’. Later, Akbar’s grandson Shah Jahan renamed the entire city as ‘Allahabad’. But the area near the ‘Sangam’, the site of the Kumbh Mela, continues to be known as ‘Prayag’.
“Prayag is where Lord Brahma performed the first yagna. The confluence of two rivers is a ‘prayag’, and in Allahabad three rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati meet. Hence, it is the king of ‘prayags’. That is why it is ‘Prayagraj’,” the chief minister said explaining the root of the name.
The Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government in the state had earlier changed the name of railway station ‘Mughalsarai Junction’ as ‘Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Junction’. Also, ‘Mughalsarai’ was made ‘Pt Deen Dayal Upadhyay Nagar’, after the noted RSS ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyay.
This change in name of cities has got a mixed response from citizens. While some praised Yogi Adityanath’s decision, others slammed him for concentrating on changing names rather than improving the condition of the state.
Check out some tweets here: