Maya renames Amethi, makes it her own
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Lucknow, July 01, 2010
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati took her battle with the
Congress to a new level: renaming Amethi - the Gandhis' pet
constituency - after a Dalit icon.
The Congress had wanted it to be named after Rajiv Gandhi.
Maywati's Cabinet took the decision on Thursday to create the new
district of Chhatrapati Sahuji Maharaj Nagar, which will include
Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi's Amethi parliamentary
Amethi is the ninth district to be named after a Dalit icon.
Mayawati's move is seen as another bid to endear herself to the
Dalits, her party's key supporters, in the face of the Congress's
efforts to woo them away.
A miffed Congress did not mince words.
In New Delhi, Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said, "Amethi was, is
and will always remain intrinsically connected to the contributions of
the Nehru-Gandhi family."
UP leaders said they had wanted Amethi to be named after Rajiv Gandhi
because of its long association with the family.
Former PM Jawaharlal Nehru, his grandsons Sanjay and Rajiv Gandhi, and
Sonia Gandhi have represented this constituency. In 2004, Rahul was
elected from here and re-elected in 2009.
Though Amethi will remain the same till the Election Commission
decides to change the name, the 72nd district of UP consisting of five
tehsils - Amethi, Gauriganj and Musafirkhana of Sultanpur and Salon
and Tiloi of Rae Bareli - will be known as Sahuji Maharaj Nagar for
In 2002, amid stiff opposition from the Congress, Mayawati had tried
to rename Amethi as Sahuji Maharaj Nagar.
The notification was issued in May 2003. However, the Mulayam Singh
government, which came to power in August 2003, scrapped her decision
in November 2004.
This time, Mayawati used a Allahabad HC order to settle scores. In
March, the HC, while disposing of a petition of an advocate, asked the
state to decide within three months on creating a new district named
after Sahuji Maharaj.
The deadline ended on Wednesday.
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