A row between Congress and BJP has erupted over the renaming of popular tourist destination Dalhousie, in Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh, as Netaji Subash Chandra Bose Nagar.
The demand for renaming the hill station after the freedom fighter.was made by BJP leader Subramanium Swamy. He has written a letter seeking the intervention of state Governor Bandaru Dattatreya.
However, some prominent locals have suggested other names too. Social worker Siddharth Bakaria has been leading a campaign to remain the hill station after Manikarnika. “Rani Laxmibai has been a symbol of bravery who resisted the Britishers and gave up her life. Why do we have to glorify her killers by keeping the names of cities after English rulers?” he asked.
The tourist town in Himachal Pradesh has been an attraction not only due to its location but also because of the curiosity surrounding its name. The town is named after Lord Dalhousie, the Governor-General of India during British rule. Those demanding a change in the name have cited historical reasons. While a section of local BJP leaders cited Netaji’s visit to the town in 1937, others are pitching for Rani Lakshmibai.
In 1992, the BJP government under Chief Minister Shanta Kumar had even issued a notification renaming the town, but the subsequent Congress regime withdrew it, claimed Swamy.
The move is criticised by the opposing Congress. Senior Congress leader and Dalhousie MLA Asha Kumari wrote to Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, claiming even the locals were against the proposal. “The sentiments of the Dalhousie residents should be given top priority while considering any such suggestion,” she said.