On Diwali eve, CM Yogi renames Faizabad district as Ayodhya
New Delhi/Ayodhya: As the clamour for Ram temple continues to get shriller, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday stepped on the gas and renamed Faizabad district as Sri Ayodhya on Diwali eve and asserted that no body can do injustice to the holy city that is at the centre of the Ram-Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute.
The saffron-robed chief minister also announced plans to build an airport named after Lord Ram and set up a medical college in the name of King Dashrath, father of Lord Ram, in the newly-named district.
“Ayodhya is a symbol of our ‘aan, baan aur shaan’ (honour, pride and prestige),” Mr Adityanath said in the pilgrim town, about 120 km from state capital Lucknow, while addressing people on the occasion of “Deepotsav” — a festival of light.
“Nobody can do injustice to Ayodhya,” he said, adding that the holy city is identified by Lord Ram.
“I want to make sure that Lord Ram’s legacy lives forever,” explained the priest-politician, justifying the renaming of Faizabad district of which Ayodhya city, where the disputed temple-mosque site is located, is a part. The Faizabad district comprises of the twin towns of Faizabad and Ayodhya on the banks of the river Saryu.
The renaming of Faizabad comes close on the heels of renaming of Allahabad as Prayagraj last month.
Mr Yogi was in Ayodhya to inaugurate a five-day Deepotsav festival. First lady of South Korea, Kim Jung-sook, who is in India on a four-day visit, also took part in Diwali festivities and the ground-breaking ceremony of a memorial for a Korean queen in Ayodhya.
A large number of Hindu seers present at the event kept chanting “mandir ka nirman karo (build the temple)”. However, no assurance on the time-line for construction of a Ram temple was announced.
The renaming of the district by the chief minister, which he described as “good news”, can be seen as a Hindutva push by the BJP before next year’s Lok Sabha elections.
It comes amid a growing clamour from BJP leaders and members of Sangh outfits for the Centre to bring a law to facilitate the construction of Ram temple, citing “frustration” among Hindus due to delay in hearings in the Supreme Court.
The name change comes amid demands by the members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas that the twin cities of Faizabad and Ayodhya be merged and renamed “Sri Ayodhya”.
The BJP government had earlier renamed two railway stations — one near Agra which was called Farah and another that used to be known as Mughalsarai junction — after party ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyaya.