Bahujan Samaj Party supremo and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati on Tuesday challenged the new chief minister Akhilesh Yadav's diktat, changing the names of each of the eight districts carved out by her as well as that of two institutions named after Dalit icons in the state.
Without stepping in directly, Mayawati got her trusted lieutenant and BSP general secretary Swami Prasad Maurya to move the Allahabad high court in this connection. And significantly, the Lucknow bench of the high court, where Maurya filed a writ petition, has asked the Akhilesh government to submit a reply within the next ten days.
The court has also fixed September 19 as the nest date for hearing in the case, that could give the ruling Samajwadi Party some sleepless nights. Interestingly, the case argued by none other than BSP general secretary and Rajya Sabha member Satish Chandra Misra, who had defended Mayawati in the disproportionate assets case as well.
The writ came a shock to those sitting at the helm of SP affairs. A key source close to SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav told Rediff.com, "We had never expected that Mayaati would seek judicial intervention in this matter," while hastening to add, "Never mind, we will fight it out."
While Akhilesh was unable to keep his word to undo Mayawati's ill-conceived projects or to have a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the large scale financial bungling in the construction of the multi-billion parks and memorials across Lucknow and Noida, he got down to changing names of districts created by her.
The re-christening exercise commenced on July 23, when Akhilesh decided to give back the 'King George' tag back to Lucknow's century-old medical college, that had been renamed by Mayawati as Chattrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University after the erstwhile ruler of Kohlapur, who figures high in the list of Maya's dalit icons.
Together with the medical institution, Akhilesh also altered the names of eight districts carved out by Mayawati during her five year rule that concluded in March 2012.
These included remaning of Chattrapati Shahuji Maharaj Nagar, as Amethi , Mahamaya Nagar as Hathras, Jyotiba Phule Nagar as Amroha, Kanshi Ram Nagar as Kasganj, Rama Bai Nagar as Kanpur (Dehat), Prabhudh Nagar as Shamli, Bhim Nagar as Sambhal, and Pancheel Nagar as Hapur.
That was followed by another decision barely a fortnight later to rename the Kanshi Ram Urdu, Arabic and Persian University after famous Sufi saint Khwaja Moiuddin Chishti.
Now flaying the Akhilesh government, the writ petition seeks to revert all these districts and institutions to their names given by the Maya regime.
Flaying the Akhilesh government for the decision, the petition terms the move as 'anti-Dalit' and as 'a reflection of the SP government's disrespect towards leading social reformers'.