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Aurangzeb erased, VK Singh wants Akbar Road renamed after Maharana Pratap

The Minister's initiative comes amid reports that Haryana government too sought had sought renaming of Akbar road after the Mewar ruler.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
May 18, 2016 1:32:51 am
v k singh, akbar road, renaming akbar road, maharana pratap road, v k singh road renaming, vk sing akbar road, india news, delhi news, latest news MoS for External Affairs V K Singh. (Source: PTI/File)

Nine months after Aurangzeb Road in the heart of New Delhi was renamed Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Road, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh has asked the government to rename Akbar Road, also in Lutyens’ Delhi, as Maharana Pratap Road because the Rajput king “has not been given his due” despite being “truly secular and a man of masses”.

Akbar Road is home to several who form the power elite of the country and houses the headquarters of the Congress party.

In a letter to Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday, Singh said “important personalities like Maharana Pratap and Chhatrapati Shivaji deserve greater recognition than they have been given thus far”.

“I do find that one historical personality that has motivated generations, Maharana Pratap, has not been given his due. You would be aware that he was not only instrumental in stopping the might of Mughal king Akbar but he was truly secular and a man of masses.”

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“His Army was led by a Pathan and he had Bhils, Adivasis and others, who formed part of his Army. The Vaishya community led by Bhamashah provided him material support in his fight to retain independence from Mughals,” Singh wrote.

“In view of this, I would request you to honour this great son of India by naming the Akbar Road as Maharana Pratap Road or a suitably important road in the Lutyen Zone in his name. This would provide recognition to his valour and spirit of secularism which makes our country great… May I request you for acceptance of this suggestion please in honour of great role played by this Rajput king,” his letter stated.

Reached for comment, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Urban Development said it had nothing to do with renaming of roads. “The MoUD does not come into the picture at all. We didn’t even know anything about the decision to rename Aurangzeb Road as A P J Abdul Kalam Road. The decision is taken by the NDMC and the state government,” the spokesperson said.

Officials at the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), the civic body which has jurisdiction over Lutyens’ Delhi including Akbar Road, said no such proposal has reached them so far.

“We have not received any such proposal. Such proposals go to a naming committee which is headed by the Delhi Chief Minister and it is a Delhi government body. The committee sends the proposal to the agency concerned for comments, following which it decides on whether the proposal should be taken up,” NDMC public relations advisor M S Sehrawat said.

New Delhi BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi, a member of the NDMC, said, “I am not aware of such a proposal, so I cannot comment on it. As far as the process is concerned, if a proposal comes to NDMC, it can be placed in the council meeting and a decision can be taken.”

Delhi government sources said renaming Aurangzeb Road as Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Road was a different matter — the AAP government and its members in NDMC had backed the renaming last year after it was proposed by East Delhi BJP MP Maheish Girri — since Kalam was a former President.

The Delhi government, sources said, was yet to receive any proposal on the renaming of Akbar Road. “History cannot be tampered with everyday. There is no proposal so far but you cannot go about changing names of roads at the drop of a hat. What is the need for this?” sources said.

Some in AAP questioned V K Singh’s proposal. Surinder Singh, NDMC member and AAP MLA from Delhi Cantonment, said: “I am not aware of such a proposal reaching the NDMC. But I do not see why Akbar Road should be renamed. Akbar is seen as a benevolent ruler in our history.”

Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala said: “Even the BJP does not take V K Singh seriously. It is time ministers in the Modi government got down to the serious business of governance rather than indulging in a name-changing spree.”

JD(U) secretary-general and Rajya Sabha member K C Tyagi said: “Akbar and Ashoka are the only emperors of India whose names carry the suffix of ‘great’. Both of them extended the geographical boundaries of the country. Akbar was a liberal and that is why his concept of Din-e-Ilahi is rejected by Muslim fundamentalists. The demand made by V K Singh will send a wrong signal to people. Babur can be called an invader, but not Akbar. The BJP should desist from pushing its communal agenda and refrain from renaming cities, roads and streets.”

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