Shimla/Dharamshala, Jun 8 (PTI) Former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Shanta Kumar and BJP MP Subramanian Swamy have written to the state government that tourist town Dalhousie should be given a new name.
Swamy said it should be named after freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, which appears to be one of Kumar's suggestions as well.
Local Congress MLA Asha Kumari has opposed any attempt to change the name of the hill town in Chamba district.
Shanta Kumar on Tuesday wrote a letter to Governor Bandaru Dattatreya and Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur raising the demand while Swamy reportedly sent a letter to the governor seeking the renaming of the tourist town in Chamba district to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Nagar.
Swamy has only retweeted posts commenting on the letter that he had reportedly sent.
When contacted, a Raj Bhavan official told PTI that it had not received any letter on the renaming of the town from either Swamy or Shanta Kumar so far.
In his letter, Shanta Kumar urged the governor and the CM that the decision of renaming Dalhousie was taken in 1992 when he was the chief minister.
Speaking to PTI, the veteran BJP leader said the government had notified the change in name of Dalhousie back in 1992 but the Congress government that came later cancelled it.
On the contrary, Dalhousie MLA Asha Kumari shot off a letter to the CM stating that the locals residing in the town are against changing its name.
The Congress MLA told PTI that she had written the letter apprising the CM that residents of the town, including local BJP and Congress leaders, are against renaming Dalhousie.
Kumari pointed out that she had been contacted by a large number of her voters urging her to oppose any move of renaming Dalhousie.
In Shanta Kumar's letter, he mentioned that Dalhousie is associated with the memory of three great personalities.
Litterateur and Nobel laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore had come to the hill station and wrote parts of his famous composition 'Gitanjali' while Netaji Bose also stayed for some time to introspect on his revolutionary ideas and then decided to go abroad to form the Azad Hind Fauj, the BJP leader said.
Famous revolutionary Ajit Singh, the uncle of Bhagat Singh, too resided in Dalhousie and breathed his last in the hill station, the former CM said in his letter.
Shanta Kumar demanded that the government should make a grand memorial at the house where Netaji Bose had stayed. The memorials of these three great men should be built after renaming the town, he urged.
Dalhousie is famous as a tourist place but would become a historical national pilgrimage centre after the creation of such memorials, he opined.
Yet, Asha Kumari disagreed by saying, 'We have high regard for Netaji in whose memory a chowk has already been built here.' The state government may hold a referendum in the town to gauge the sentiments of the locals whether they are in support of renaming Dalhousie, she said.
Kumari felt the town's name should not be changed as it is the original name and had nothing to do with Lord Dalhousie, the Indian Governor General during British rule. The name of Dalhousie town is internationally famous among tourists, the Congress legislator added. PTI DJI CORR HDA