New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition partners Shiv Sena and the Congress party on Sunday engaged in a war of words over the renaming of Aurangabad to Sambhaji Nagar, with the former remarking that the move would hurt the 'vote bank' of 'secular parties'.

"Aurangzeb was religiously blind and harboured hatred towards other religions,” Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut wrote in his weekly column in party’s mount piece Saamana.  “There should be no city named after such Aurangzed at least in Maharashtra. This (demand) is not religious blindness. Call it ’Shivbhakti’ (devotion to Shivaji Maharaj), Maharashtra’s self-esteem, or the sense of history. Prostrating before those who find Aurangzeb dear! This is not secular behaviour!”

Hitting back, Congress accused Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party of playing politics of the matter and asked them why they did not remember the issue while they were in power in the state for the past five years. 

“The renaming issue is being raked up now to mislead the local people. Our ally in the state, the Shiv Sena, is worried about its votes. Hence it has initiated this ‘Saamana’ (match) of renaming,” said Maharashtra Congress president Balasaheb Thorat. “We are Marathi people and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj are our dieties. We will strongly oppose if anyone does so.” 

Thorat, however, maintained that the MVA government of the Congress, Shiv Sena, and the NCP in Maharashtra is stable. The issue has raked up ahead of the Gram Panchayat polls in the state. 

Posted By: Lakshay Raja