Yogi Adityanath said renaming Allahabad to Prayagraj was in keeping with the "wishes of the people"
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday defended renaming the city of Allahabad to Prayagraj by alluding to mythological antagonists. After a backlash over the name change, the chief minister questioned why the protesters were not named "Raavan" or "Duryodhan" – antagonists from Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. He was speaking at an event on the second day of the Gyan Kumbh in Haridwar.
"When I changed the name of Allahabad, some people raised questions over it. Some also said what is there in the name. So, I said why didn't their parents name them 'Raavan' and 'Duryodhan' in that case? In this country, the name holds a lot of significance." Yogi Adityanath said.
The BJP leader also said that most names in India are related to "Ram" and is widely used by scheduled castes. He also said that the name Ram "connects us with our glorious tradition."
The proposal to rename Allahabad to Prayagraj was approved by the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet on October 16. Yogi Adityanath had said the renaming was in keeping with the "wishes of the people."
Those who supported the name change said Prayag was the original name of Allahabad, one of the oldest cities of UP. It was named "Illahabad" or "abode of God" by Mughal emperor Akbar in 1575.
"The BJP government has rectified the mistake made by Akbar," a state BJP spokesperson had said.
The Congress had been upset with the renaming to which the UP chief minister had said, "Those who are opposing this are not aware of their history, culture and traditions and we can't have hopes from them."
The UP government has also renamed the Mughalsarai Railway station, another historic spot, to Deen Dayal Upadhyaya junction.
(with inputs from Agencies)