BJP is going on a renaming spree of well known public places to gain an upper hand over its alliance partner Shiv Sena in the BMC election..
After the renaming Oshiwara as Ram Mandir, Elphinstone Road as Prabhadevi the BJP led state government is planning to rename six more stations Marine Lines, Charni Road, Grant Road, Dadar, Sandhurst Road and Reay Road to lure local voters. With an eye on the forthcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) election BJP is leaving no stone unturned to appease Shiv Sena’s traditional vote bank. Instead of improving the amenities of these stations, the saffron party is going on a renaming spree to gain an upper hand over its alliance partner Sena in the civic body election. Sena has always been known for championing the cause of Marathi manoos and earlier the party had recommended for renaming the city from Bombay to Mumbai during its reign in 1995.
The BJP has already sounded poll bugle by adding Maharaj to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station and it also planning a bhoomi pujan of the multi-crore memorial to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the Arabian Sea. However, Mumbaikars are not happy with the state government’s proposal to change names of important landmarks in the city as it will mean altering the history of the station. According to them, even if name of an important station like Dadar is changed still people will continue to address it with its original name.
Satish Rohankar, a financial planner said, “The state government must first think about providing more facilities to passengers instead of renaming stations. Changing the name of station is a waste of tax-payers money.”
Sudhir Deshmukh, a BPO employee said, “BJP is indulging in cheap gimmick of name change to attract voters. However, people have become smart today and they only vote for those party which works for their welfare.”
Jayant Mehta, who daily uses Elphinstone Rd station said, “Huge crowd is witnessed at the station during the morning and evening peak hours as commuters find it difficult to enter it due to poor accessibility. The foot overbridge is overcrowded and it takes more than 20 to 25 minutes to get out of the station. Why can’t the state government build more foot overbridges or widen the existing one to ease the woes of commuters.”
Jagruti Shah a Borivali resident said, “What is the need to rename these stations. Why can’t railways and state government take steps to enhance the safety of women commuters using suburban railway network. I often feel unsafe while travelling at night through local trains.”
Grant Road station’s name is likely to be changed to Gamdevi, Sandhurst Road to Dongri, Charni Road to Girgaum, Reay Road to Ghodapdeo, Marine Lines to Sonapur and whereas Dadar is to be renamed as Chaityabhoomi.
“We have no role to play when it comes to changing names of stations. It is the state government and Home ministry that decide this; we simply implement it,” said a senior railway official.
Changing the name of station is a tedious process as railways has to make amendments in ticketing systems, train indicators and passenger announcement system which is a huge waste of money.