A plan to rename the iconic Mughalsarai railway station in Uttar Pradesh, one of India's oldest, provoked a row in parliament today, with the opposition accusing the ruling BJP of trying to change the country's map.
The central government recently cleared UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's request to rename the station after Deen Dayal Upadhyay, an icon of the BJP.
Strong objections were raised in the Rajya Sabha by Naresh Agarwal, a member of the Samajwadi Party, which lost power in Uttar Pradesh to the BJP earlier this year.
"The government to forcibly change Uttar Pradesh's geography. The station is ages old. There are going to change New Delhi's name too," Mr Agarwal lashed out, not silenced by Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien saying the subject should be taken up under a different rule.
Samajwadi members rushed to the centre of the house and shouted slogans, forcing an adjournment. Members of Mayawati's BSP, their rivals in UP, also joined in.
The Mughalsarai station was set up in 1862 when the East India Company linked Howrah to Delhi by rail.
Mr Agarwal said the government was trying to "change the character of the country". His party colleagues said the names of persons "who have made no contribution to the freedom struggle" are being given to iconic monuments and roads.
Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi shot back: "They want stations in the name of Mughals, but not Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay. This view is wrong."
Alleging the "insult" of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, Mr Naqvi pointed out that the famous Victoria Terminus in Mumbai was also renamed to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminal.
In the sparring, the protesting MPs shouted:"Change the nation's name then... What was his contribution to the nation?"
"Read history," Mr Naqvi retorted, describing Deen Dayal Upadhyay as a great thinker