Ayodhya: Faizabad district will be renamed as Sri Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath announced on Tuesday but remained silent on the construction of the Ram Temple in a Diwali speech from the holy city revered by millions of Hindus as the birthplace of Lord Ram.
Continuing the renaming spree that started with changing the name of Allahabad to Prayagraj, the UP CM said that the Faizabad district, of which Ayodhya city is a part, would be known by its “original name”.
Addressing a huge gathering comprising Hindu seers who chanted “mandir ka nirman karo (build the temple),” Adityanath also announced that his government will build an airport in Ayodhya and name it after Lord Ram and a medical college will be named after his father, Dashratha.
“We have come to assure you that no power can do injustice with Ayodhya. Ayodhya is a symbol of our 'aan, baan aur shaan' (honour, pride and prestige). Every Indian knows what Ayodhya wants,” he said, alluding to the construction of the Ram Mandir at the disputed Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi site.
Adityanath was speaking on the occasion of "Deepotsav" on Diwali eve.
The CM’s announcement, which he himself had described as “good news”, is being largely seen as a Hindutva push by the BJP before next year's Lok Sabha elections. It comes amid a growing clamour from BJP leaders and members of Sangh outfits for the Centre to bring a law to facilitate the construction of Ram Temple, citing “frustration” in the delay in hearings in the Supreme Court.
Responding to criticism of his renaming spree, he said a name holds a lot of significance in this country. "Why are those protesting the change not named Raavan or Duryodhan? Why didn't their parents name them 'Raavan' and 'Duryodhan' in that case?” he asked.
The name change comes as members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas were raising demands that the sister towns of Faizabad and Ayodhya be merged and renamed “Shri Ayodhya.”
“The decision by the Yogi Adityanath government to change the name of Allahabad to Prayagraj is commendable. Our governments should keep in mind the sentiments of the people and also change the name of Faizabad to Shri Ayodhya,” VHP spokesperson Sharad Sharma had said.
The BJP government had earlier renamed two railway stations - one near Agra which was called Farah and another that used to be known as Mughalsarai junction - after the party ideologue Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya.