New Delhi: The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has proposed to rename its newest School of Management and Entrepreneurship after former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who passed away on August 16.
The decision, taken by the university's executive council, comes amid a renaming spree where the Centre and several state governments have decided to dedicate projects to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stalwart.
While the Uttar Pradesh government, led by Yogi Adityanath, has decided to name the proposed Bundelkhand Expressway as 'Atal Path', Chhattisgarh's upcoming capital Naya Raipur will be known as Atal Nagar.
A 'ghat' on the Sabarmati River in Gujarat, the AIIMS Rishikesh auditorium and the cyber tower in Mauritius, which was set up with Vajpayee's help, will also be named after him.
Apart from these, several states have requested the Centre to allow them to rename landmarks after Vajpayee. These include proposals from Andhra Pradesh to name AIIMS Mangalagiri after the former PM, one from Himachal Pradesh to rename the Rohtang Tunnel, another from Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to change the name of the Habibganj railway station and a personal request from an Assam BJP legislator to call the Bogibeel Bridge on Brahmaputra river 'Atal Setu'.
The former prime minister's ashes were also immersed in rivers across the country, from the Gomti in Lucknow to Imphal river in Manipur, with several BJP leaders leading the processions in the states.
While the governments are of the opinion that renaming institutions, roads and welfare schemes after Vajpayee would be a fitting tribute to a man considered an astute politician and a master negotiator, not everyone is happy with the developments.
Almost a week after the former prime minister's death, his niece Karuna Shukla on Thursday raked up a controversy by alleging that the BJP was politicising Vajpayee's demise for electoral gains in the 2019 polls.
"The BJP is selfish and doing politics in the name of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Using his name, they are prepping for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls," Shukla said in an interview to News18.
She alleged that the saffron party profited from Vajpayee's name during his lifetime and was using his name after his death for political gains. "The BJP is not at all ashamed over politicising his death," said Shukla, a former Lok Sabha MP who was denied a ticket by the BJP in 2014 and later resigned from the party.
The Congress, too, accused the BJP of trying to gain political mileage out of Vajpayee's death. "The last rites are performed by family members for peace of the departed soul," the party tweeted. "PM Modi and the BJP have usurped the last remains of Former PM Vajpayee and are using it for petty political gains. BJP leaders discover new lows everyday," Congress said on its official Twitter handle.
Vajpayee, one of India's tallest leaders and the first non-Congress Prime Minister to complete a full term in power by leading a tenuous coalition with his inclusive politics and superlative oratory, died on August 16 after a prolonged illness. He was 93.