Bye Elphinstone, hello Prabhadevi

Central govt issues notification for renaming of the railway station.

Mumbai: The Centre has issued a notification renaming Elphinstone Road railway station as Prabhadevi station and adding the honorific ‘Maharaj’ to the city’s famous heritage site Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. The government has reasoned that this is a response to the demands of locals.

There have been demands from various organisations as well as political parties like the Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to change the names of seven railway stations on the western line in Mumbai.

Responding to this, the Central government on Saturday issued a notification, stating that the name of Elphinstone Road would be changed to Prabhadevi, the name of a Hindu goddess whose temple is near the station.

Adding the honorific ‘Maharaj’ to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is one of the demands of the protesters who took part in the massive Maratha morchas that were held between October and November 2016 across the state.

The structure’s namesake, the 17th century emperor, is a venerated figure, and it is being said that the BJP government is attempting to win over Marathas and other aggressive Marathi-oriented people in the state with the name change.

Shiv Sena leader Diwakar Raote, a Cabinet minister, welcomed the decision. He had led a Sena delegation to Union home minister Rajnath Singh, demanding name changes.

“We were continuously following up on this demand. As the Union government has cleared this decision, we will quickly get it gazetted and change the names. We will also keep following up for changing other names,” he said.

Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar said the decision proved that the Narendra Modi government has been working as per the demands of the people. “Mumbaikars have been demanding this for years, but the previous government never took it seriously. We will also follow up on changing the names of other stations,” said Mr Shelar.

When the Ram Mandir station was inaugurated between Jogeshwari and Goregaon stations on the western line in December last year, Mumbai witnessed a major political tussle between Shiv Sena and BJP as to whom should receive credit for the move. Ahead of municipal council elections, activists of both parties had tried to hijack the inauguration function by sloganeering aggressively.

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