Ayodhya, November 6: On an official visit to the holy town of Ayodhya to celebrate Diwali, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday announced that his government would be renaming the Faizabad district as "Sri Ayodhya".
The announcement comes days after his government changed the name of Allahabad to Prayagraj. The decision, though condemned by the Opposition, was defended by the UP CM, claiming that his government has not renamed the city, "but restored its original name". Ram Temple in Ayodhya: Yogi Adityanath Assures Work 'Will Start Very Soon'.
The BJP and its ideological affiliate had long been petitioning for renaming the cities and districts named after "Mughal invaders" to their erstwhile names. A week ago, VHP state unit chief Sharad Sharma had claimed that Faizabad is next on their agenda.
While announcing the name-change, Yogi said his government is committed to Lord Ram. "Diwali is about Lord Ram, and when we refer to our Lord, Ayodhya comes to our mind...From today this janpad (Faizabad) will also be named as Sri Ayodhya," he said.
Apart from renaming Faizabad, the Chief Minister also announced a medical college to be built in the district, in the memory of King Dasharatha. An airport will also be constructed, he said.
A medical college will be established here in Ayodhya, I want it to be named after King Dasharatha. We will also construct an airport here named after Lord Ram: UP CM Yogi Adityanath at Ram Katha Park #Diwali pic.twitter.com/ESJX8eRQp1
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) November 6, 2018
Yogi, who hosted South Korea's First Lady Kim-Jung Sook in Ayodhya, said the ties between Uttar Pradesh and South Korea date back to more than 2,000 years. "We are honoured to welcome the First Lady here. May our bilateral ties soar to an unprecedented high," he said.
The Chief Minister's decision to spend three days of Diwali in Ayodhya this year had sparked buzz whether he would make a landmark announcement on the Ram Mandir. Speculations are also rife that he would officially lay the foundation stone of a 151-metre Ram statue on the banks of river Sarayu.