People’s Feelings Are Involved: Cong Resists Ahmedabad’s Renaming

While the VHP has issued a warning saying “Hindus” won’t “tolerate” attempts to hamper the process of Ahmedabad’s name change, the Congress on Monday, 13 November, lashed out at the BJP government for the same.

The Congress pointed out that people’s feelings were involved with Ahmedabad and that an online petition was doing the rounds to prevent the name change, reported The Indian Express.

“The people of Ahmedabad have taken up a movement to ensure that the city's name is not change," the Indian Express quoted Gujarat Congress chief Amit Chavda saying.

"“Ahmedabad is a historic city. The UNESCO has given it the prestigious tag of Heritage City. We all take pride in being residents of this city. People’s feelings are associated with this city for generations.”" - Amit Chavda 

Congress MLA Gyasuddin Shaikh also wrote to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani saying they will “launch a stir against such politics of polarisation” if BJP went ahead with the renaming, reported The Indian Express.

"“This city was established by Sultan Ahmed Shah in 1411. The ruling BJP is indulging in dirty politics by projecting a twisted version of history. The people of Ahmedabad are also against such a move to change its name, which is only aimed at polarising the voters ahead of the 2019 polls.”" - Gyasuddin Shaikh, Congress MLA

During a discussion on his book Why I am a Hindu in Ahmedabad, Congress Kerala MP Shashi Tharoor called the renaming of cities “anti-national”.

"“The renamings are explicitly of places that are Muslim in origin. What is the message you seek to send to a community of our country — that you have less rights, less stake in this society than we the Hindus have?" - Shashi Tharoor

According to The Indian Express, Tharoor said, “What is frightening is that somehow, we absorb and accept one episode after another, and finally, there will be no Muslim named places left in India and our Muslim brothers will be asking ‘Do we belong (here)?’”.

Hours after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced the renaming of Faizabad district to Ayodhya, the Gujarat government on Tuesday, 6 November, had said it was willing to rechristen Ahmedabad to ‘Karnavati’ if there were no legal hurdles.

On Thursday, 8 November, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani concurred with his deputy and said that the government is contemplating the name change.

Speaking to reporters in Gandhinagar, Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel had said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government was willing to change Ahmedabad's name if it gets past the legal hurdles and receives required support.

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel.

In an interview with ANI, Patel said:

"Since long, there has been a demand to change the name of Ahmedabad and rename it to Karnavati. If we get people’s support for the legal process, we’re ready to change its name. People of Ahmedabad like the name Karnavati. Whenever the time is appropriate, we’ll change it."

Slamming the BJP government over the issue, state unit Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said the promise to rename Ahmedabad was just another "poll gimmick" by the ruling party.

"For the BJP, issues like construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya and renaming Ahmedabad as Karnavati, are the means to get votes of Hindus," said Doshi.

"BJP leaders dump such issues after coming to power. They only cheated Hindus all these years," he added.

Also Read: Renaming Allahabad to Prayagraj: Public Sentiment or Politics?

Historically, the area around Ahmedabad has been inhabited since the 11th century, when it was known as Ashaval.

Chaulukya ruler Karna of Anhilwara (modern Patan) had waged a successful war against the Bhil king of Ashaval and established a city called Karnavati on the banks of the Sabarmati river.

Sultan Ahmed Shah, in 1411 AD, had laid the foundation of a new walled city near Karnavati and named it Ahmedabad after four saints called ‘Ahmed’ who lived near the area.

(With inputs from PTI, ANI, The Indian Express.)

Also Read: ‘Faizabad to Be Renamed Ayodhya’: UP CM Yogi at Diwali Event

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