Amid the row regarding the renaming of Aurangabad and Osmanabad in Maharashtra to Sambhajinagar and Dharashiv, the Prime Minister on Sunday stoked interest in yet another name change campaign that the BJP has been supporting for some time - that of changing the name of Hyderabad to Bhagyanagar. While addressing the mega BJP executive meet in Telangana, PM Narendra Modi referred to Hyderabad as Bhagyanagar, leading to speculation that yet another city might be heading toward a new name.
While addressing party workers and people, PM Modi referred to Hyderabad, the capital of Telangana, as "Bhagyanagar" and said that this is where the term "Ek Bharat" was coined by the freedom fighter Sardar Patel. Commenting on the PM's usage of the new name, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said that it was a significant move.
"Sardar Patel kept the foundation of a unified India and now it's BJP's responsibility to carry it further," Prasad was quoted by NDTV as saying. The demand to change the name of Hyderabad to Bhagyanagar has been a long-standing one among the RSS, BJP leaders, and other Hindu bodies.
Reacting to the name change speculation, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said that the decision will be taken by the chief minister along with the cabinet minister when the party came to power in the state, currently ruled by Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS).
PM Modi was in the city, attending the BJP's two-day National Executive Committee meeting that began on Saturday and addressing a public meeting titled as 'Vijay Sankalpa Sabha' at Parade Ground in Secunderabad on Sunday evening. This is only the fourth time that the party has held its high level national meet outside of the national capital.
The move to choose Hyderabad is being seen as significant as part of the party's agenda to increase its influence in states where it is not in power. The ruling TRS and BJP have been engaged in a war of words over a number of issues as they gear up for the Legislative Assembly elections next year.
On Saturday, BJP Telangana unit president Bandi Sanjay Kumar claimed that people of the state are fed up with the "misrule" of the TRS government and looking for a change. He alleged that Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is "running away" whenever Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the state, an apparent reference to Rao not receiving the PM at the airport on Saturday when Modi arrived in the city to attend the BJP's national executive.
"You (Rao) have increased power bills, bus charges, property tax and all. People are fed up with your misrule. That's why they are looking for a change. We will put an end to your "naya Nizam' rule," Kumar told reporters here.
Kumar, also a Lok Sabha member, expressed confidence that a BJP government will be formed in Telangana.
(With inputs from PTI)