A draft delimitation order issued by the Gorakhpur Municipal Corporation has changed "Muslim-sounding names" of around a dozen wards, prompting a sharp reaction from leaders of the Samajwadi Party and the Congress.
The changing of names was part of the delimitation exercise, under which the number of wards went up to 80 in Gorakhpur, with several of these named after iconic personalities and freedom fighters.
A senior official said on Saturday that people can file their objections within a week and after their disposal, the delimitation will be approved.
Samajwadi Party leader and Ismailpur corporator Shahab Ansari charged that changing of names is an attempt at polarisation.
Mr. Ansari said the party will hold a meeting in this regard on Sunday and a delegation will meet the district magistrate to raise the objection on Monday.
Congress leader Talat Aziz termed the name-changing exercise as a waste of money. "I fail to understand what the government will achieve through this exercise," the leader asked.
Mayor Sitaram Jaiswal said new names evoke the feeling of pride.
He said wards were named after personalities like Ashfaqullah Khan, Shiv Singh Chetri, Baba Gambhir Nath, Baba Raghavdas, Dr Rajendra Prasad and Madan Mohan Malviya.
Municipal Commissioner Avinash Singh said objections can be sent within a week to the Additional Chief Secretary, Urban Development Department, Lucknow. After the disposal of the objections, the delimitation will be approved, he said.
Gorakhpur, the home town of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, will now have 80 wards.
Miya Bazar, Muftipur, Alinagar, Turkmanpur, Ismailpur, Rassolpur, Humayunpur North, Ghosipurva, Daudpur, Jafra Bazar, Qazipur Khurd and Chaksa Hussain are among the "Muslim-sounding names" that have been changed.
According to the order issued by the civic body, Ilahi Bagh will now be known as Bandhu Singh Nagar, Ismailpur as Sahabganj and Jafra Bazar as Atma Ram Nagar.