Change Patna’s name to Azimabad – Lalu

PATNA: Bihar’s "name game" politics received a fresh lease of life on Sunday when RJD chief Lalu Prasad made a demand to change the name of Patna to Azimabad.

Lalu made the demand while addressing a meeting organised to mark the birthday of former Speaker of Bihar Assembly the late Ghulam Sarwar which is being celebrated as "Urdu Day"by an organisation headed by RJD leader Ghulam Gaus.

"Ghulam Sarwar’s last wish was that Patna be named Azimabad. I demand that the state government initiate the move to rename Patna as Azimabad,"Lalu said at the meeting.

The railway minister, however, turned down the demand for a train in the name of the late politician-cum-Urdu writer who was known for his oratory skills. "There is a strict rule forbidding any train to be named after any person,"he said.

Playing the Muslim card to the hilt during his speech, Lalu recalled his close association with Sarwar, who enjoyed support of the backward sections of Muslims. "I was the first chief minister to create a separate department of minority welfare.

I will stop calling CM Nitish Kumar an RSS agent if he appoints Urdu-knowing police sub-inspectors. I had started the process but it faced hurdles from the court. Nitish should remove the hurdles,"Lalu said.

Union minister for state for telecommunications Shakeel Ahmad, who was present on the occasion, said efforts are on for issuing a postal stamp in the honour of Ghulam Sarwar.

Historically, during the Mughal Period Patna was known as Azimabad after a Mughal Governor Azimus Shan. Most Urdu poets and writers hailing from Patna including legendary poet Shaad Azimabadi identified themselves with this name.

However, the RJD supremo is not the only one who is demanding a change in Patna’s name. Currently, a campaign on to rename Patna as Patliputra – the name by which the city was known as during the Mauryan Period.

Posters have been put up across the city with an appeal to CM Nitish Kumar to rename the state capital as Patliputra.

In the 1980s, the present Governor of Jammu & Kashmir Lt. Gen (Retd) S K Sinha had launched a campaign for renaming Patna as Patliputra.

In the late 1990s the then Speaker of the Bihar assembly the late Dev Narayan Yadav had submitted a memorandum to Lalu for renaming Patna as Patliputra. Lalu first agreed, but made a U-turn the next day saying that the change of name of a city was an irrelevant issue.

"It’s a political gimmick. Lalu never remembered Ghulam Sarwar or fulfilled any of his wishes when he was alive,"said JD(U)’s national spokesperson Shivanand Tiwari.

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