Minister of state for external affairs Gen (retired) VK Singh on Tuesday demanded that Akbar Road in the city’s power district be named after Maharana Pratap, saying the Rajput king was secular and inspired generations of Indians.
In a letter to urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu, the former army chief said Maharana Pratap had played a key role in stopping the might of Mughal king Akbar but was not given his due.
In the last few weeks, there have been reports that some BJP leaders favoured the name change but no formal proposal had been made.
Singh made a case for the change by arguing secular credentials of the 16th century Mewar ruler. “His army was led by a Pathan and he had Bhils, Adivasis, and others, who formed part of his army” he wrote. “The Vaishya community, led by Bhamashah, provided him material support in his fight to retain independence from Mughals.”
In September, the New Delhi Municipal Council had renamed Aurangzeb Road in the heart of the city after late president APJ Abdul Kalam.
Naming roads, institutions and cities is often driven by political interests and is often controversial. The Modi government, too, has been accused of furthering its saffron agenda.
Renaming of Akbar Road or a “suitably important” stretch in the Lutyens’ Zone would be “proper recognition” of Maharana Pratap’s valour and spirit of secularism.
“I do feel that important personalities like Maharana Pratap and Chhatrapati Shivaji deserve greater recognition than they have been given,” the letter said.
Singh got support from party MP Subramanian Swamy, who said “there are disproportionate numbers of roads named after Muslim conquerors”.
HT wrote about some signages on Akbar Road being covered with posters of “Maharana Pratap Road” on Sunday. These were, however, removed the next day.