Soon after BJP leader Subramanian Swamy strongly favoured renaming the Akbar Road to Maharana Pratap Road, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh has also made the same pitch.
However, the Ministry of Urban Development has said that it had nothing to do with renaming of roads. It said the authority to do this lies with the NDMC and the state government. “Naming and renaming of street is not the subject matter of my ministry,” Mr Naidu had said.
Singh said the road should be named after Maharana Pratap as the Rajput king “has not been given his due” despite being “truly secular and a man of masses”.
Akbar Road is home to several ruling elite and houses the headquarters of the Congress party.
In a letter to Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, Singh had said:
“I do find that one historical personality that has motivated generations, Maharana Pratap, has not been given his due. You would be aware that he was not only instrumental in stopping the might of Mughal king Akbar but he was truly secular and a man of masses.”
“In view of this, I would request you to honour this great son of India by naming the Akbar Road as Maharana Pratap Road or a suitably important road in the Lutyen Zone in his name. This would provide recognition to his valour and spirit of secularism which makes our country great… May I request you for acceptance of this suggestion please in honour of great role played by this Rajput king,” his letter stated.
On its part the NDMC has said it has not received any such proposal. Such proposals go to a naming committee which is headed by the Delhi Chief Minister and it is a Delhi government body.
According to AAP government in Delhi, renaming Aurangzeb Road as Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Road was a different matter as Kalam was a former President. “History cannot be tampered with everyday,” they said.
The Congress has also hit out at VK Singh for his proposal and said that renaming roads “is the job of the Municipal Corporation” and ministers should work for the welfare of people.
JD(U) secretary-general and Rajya Sabha member K C Tyagi said: Akbar was a liberal and that is why his concept of Din-e-Ilahi is rejected by Muslim fundamentalists. Babur can be called an invader, but not Akbar, he said.