After Allahabad, another prominent city in Uttar Pradesh may be staring at a name change. The Aligarh Municipal Corporation has unanimously passed a proposal to change the city’s name to Harigarh. The proposal was presented by Mayor Prashant Singhal in a meeting yesterday and was supported by all councillors.
If the Uttar Pradesh government greenlights the proposal to rename Aligarh, it will add to the growing tally of places renamed in the BJP-ruled state. One of the most high-profile recent examples is the renaming of Allahabad to Prayagraj in January 2019.
“In a meeting yesterday, a proposal was presented to change the name of Aligarh to Harigarh. All councillors unanimously supported this. Now, this proposal will be sent to the administration. I hope that the administration will take cognizance of this and fulfill our demand to change the name of Aligarh to Harigarh…This demand has been being raised for a long time,” Aligarh mayor Prashant Singhal said, as quoted by news agency ANI.
A state government can change the name of any city or area within the state. After a municipal body unanimously approves a proposed name change resolution, it will write to the state government. The resolution will then be sent by the state government to the Ministry of Home Affairs for approval. If the ministry and other relevant agencies approve the resolution, the state government can officially change the name.
A proposal to rename Aligarh to Harigarh was cleared by a zila panchayat meeting in 2021 and sent to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. In 2019, Chief Minister Adityanath indicated that his government will keep up with its spree of renaming places across the state.
“We did what we felt was good. We renamed Mughal Sarai as Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhayay Nagar, Allahabad as Prayagraj and Faizabad district as Ayodhya district. Where there is a need, the government will take the steps required,” Yogi Adityanath had said.
Following the name changes of Faizabad district and Allahabad, members of the ruling BJP have, over the years, demanded that other cities be renamed as well. An Agra lawmaker had proposed that Agra be renamed Agravan or Agarwal, while another suggested that Muzaffarnagar be renamed Laxmi Nagar.
Since coming to power in March 2017, the Yogi Adityanath government has renamed many projects and schemes, including the Purvanchal Expressway, which was initiated by the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party (SP) government.
The SP government named the ambulance service the Samajwadi Ambulance Swasthya Sewa. The Yogi Adityanath government renamed the service, removing the prefix “Samajwadi” and replacing it with “Mukhya Mantri” in the government’s pension scheme.