Mumbai, June 29, 2022: Even as the Maharashtra government hangs on precariously amid a mutiny, the state cabinet led by Uddhav Thackeray today approved renaming of Aurangabad to Sambhajinagar and Osmanabad to Dharashiv, apparently to be seen as true keepers of the party’s Maratha-Hindutva ideology.
Sambhaji was the eldest son of Chhatrapati Shivaji, the Maratha king after whom the party is named. He was killed on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, who gave Aurangabad its name in the 17th century. Renaming it after Sambhaji has for long been Shiv Sena’s demand.
Osmanabad, named after Hyderabad’s last ruler Mir Osman Ali Khan, derives its new name, Dharashiv, from 6th-century caves near the city. This, too, has been on the Sena’s agenda for a while.
The timing is crucial as the rebels led by Eknath Shinde are challenging Team Thackeray on the plank of ideology. They insist that the party should break up with the NCP and Congress to resume a tie-up with "natural ally" BJP.
The cabinet also decided to name the new airport in Navi Mumbai after DB Patil, a leader of the people displaced to build the satellite town.
Meanwhile, Team Thackeray’s lawyers were trying to convince the Supreme Court to put off a trust vote that might seal the government’s fate. In the cabinet meeting, Chief Minister Thackeray said that his own people had betrayed him and thanked the alliance’s ministers for standing by him.
Eknath Shinde has claimed support of 50 MLAs, including 40 of the Shiv Sena’s 55. Stunted, the Thackeray camp has called them traitors who make a false claim to the legacy of Sena founder Bal Thackeray, the Chief Minister’s father.