The renaming of Faizabad and Allahabad divisions as Ayodhya and Prayagraj respectively were approved by the Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday. The decision came during a meeting of the state cabinet, presided over by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow, said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Khanna.
Prayagraj division will comprise Prayagraj, Kaushambi, Fatehpur and Pratapgarh districts, while Ayodhya division will include Ayodhya, Ambedkarnagar, Sultanpur, Amethi and Barabanki districts, he said. The Allahabad High Court on Monday had asked the Centre and the state government to file counter affidavits within a week on a petition challenging the decision to rename Allahabad as Prayagraj.
In criticism to the sudden spate in changing the names of key UP districts, towns and railway stations, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav blamed the chief minister 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 earlier.
"They (BJP) have even re-named 'Ardh Kumbh' as 'Kumbh'. This mocks our tradition and belief," he said.
UP minister and SBSP chief Om Prakash Rajbhar mocked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the move and said the party should change names of its Muslim leaders before changing the names of different towns and places.
He said that the names of places were changed just to divert attention of the backward and oppressed people from the issues, which concern them.
The Mughalsarai Railway station was earlier renamed by the government as Deen Dayal Upadhyaya junction. In August this year, the UP government had sent a request to the Centre to rename the airports in Agra, Bareilly and Kanpur.
According to reports, the proposal is to rename the Agra airport after Jan Sangh founder Deen Dayal Upadhyay.
The ruling BJP has, however, justified the name changes across Uttar Pradesh, saying they are merely restoring older names and correcting historical distortions.