As the fate of the Maharashtra government hangs in balance, the state cabinet on Wednesday approved the renaming of Aurangabad city as Sambhajinagar, and that of Osmanabad city as Dharashiv.
The decision on the emotive issue of renaming of the historical central Maharashtra city of Aurangabad came even as the Shiv Sena, which heads the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadicoalition, is facing a rebellion by majority of its MLAs.
The cabinet meeting chaired by the beleaguered Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray also approved the naming of upcoming Navi Mumbai international airport after farmer leader the late D B Patil.
Interestingly, state planning agency CIDCO had earlier proposed to name the Navi Mumbai airport after late Balasaheb Thackeray, founder of the Shiv Sena.
After the Shiv Sena broke off its alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party and joined hands with the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party to form the MVA government, the BJP had often reminded the Sena of its own old demand to rename Aurangabad, which derived its name from Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.
The Congress, which is a junior partner in the MVA government, demanded in the cabinet meeting that Pune city be named as Jijau Nagar, after Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's mother, and Mumbai Trans Harbour link between Sewree and Nhava Sheva in Navi Mumbai be named after former chief minister the late A R Antulay. But these demands were apparently not considered.
The Congress had backed the demand to name Navi Mumbai airport after D B Patil.