The Uttar Pradesh cabinet presided over by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday approved the proposal to officially rename the historic city of Allahabad as Prayagraj.
“The renaming of Allahabad as Prayagraj before Kumbh came for approval in the meeting and I am happy to say Allahabad will now be known as Prayagraj,” said senior cabinet minister and government spokesperson Siddhartha Nath Singh.
He also mentioned that in Hindu scriptures such as Rig Veda, Mahabharat and Ramayana we find mention of Prayagraj for Allahabad.
It is believed that Akbar in the 16th century renamed the city of Prayag to ‘Illahabad’ or ‘abode to God.’
Earlier on Saturday, during his visit to Allahabad, the Chief Minister announced the proposal to change the name of the city to Prayagraj before the onset of Kumbh Mela scheduled to begin from January 2019.
“Prayag is a confluence of two rivers. Here we have a confluence of three rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. Therefore, it’s name will be Prayagraj.”
The decision had drawn protests from Congress and Samajwadi Party. They termed the proposal a poll gimmick.
Congress in a statement said that renaming the city does not make sense and would diminish the significance it holds in the freedom movement.
Former chief minister and Samajwadi Party chief, Akhilesh Yadav on Monday noted that today’s rulers were trying to show that they are working by just changing the name of Allahabad.
He further added, “They have even re-named Ardh Kumbh to Kumbh. This is toying with tradition and belief.”
Replying to the objections, state minister Shrikant Sharma said, “Some persons are objecting to renaming Allahabad as Prayagraj. The objections are baseless. It is the right of the government to rename any city. If needed, we will rename more cities and roads. The mistakes done earlier will be rectified.”
The State government on an earlier occasion renamed Mughalsarai station as Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhayay Junction.