Lucknow: There seems to be no end to Yogi Adutyanath’s fascination for renaming ― be it renaming cities, hospitals or railway stations. The latest in this rechristening spree is Faizabad, a town situated 8 km away from the historically significant Ayodhya. From today, Faizabad will be known as Ayodhya.

On Tuesday, while celebrating Diwali in Ayodhya, as he has been doing since he has become the chief minister, he announced this move amid a lot of fanfare. That's not all. He declared that the airport in the religious city will be renamed according to the name of the place.

Interestingly, the move came immediately after sants (Hindu ascetics) demanded Faizabad’s name be changed to Sri Ayodhya. In fact, in a recently concluded 2-day long all-India saints conclave, they had praised the new Hindutva icon for renaming Allahabad as Prayagraj.

As Yogi Adityanath announced his decision, a frantic crowd chanted, “Yogi ji ek ram karo, mandir ka nirman karo”(Yog, do one thing. Start building the Ram temple). The chanting continued even as Bihar governor Lalji Tandon urged the crowd to be "patient" while assuring them the temple will be built (on the disputed plot in Ayodhya).

This new found momentum in the political discourse has its root in the growing clamour for building the Ram Temple on the disputed site after the Supreme Court put the issue on the back burner until January 2019. Not only have the sants demanded that the government bring an ordinance to pave the way for the construction of the temple but the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sang (RSS), BJP’s ideological parent, asked for the same. While the government is tight-lipped about exploring that option, it has sought refuge in the easier way to appease the demands of its core voters by going on a renaming rampage.

Yogi's naming spree

  • Mughalsarai Junction turned into Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhaya Junction
  • Allahabad turned into Prayagraj
  • Faizabad turned into Ayodhya
  • New hospital to be named after King Dashrath
  • Airport near Ayodhya to be named after the city

The Uttar Pradesh chief minister added that he would set up a medical college and name it after King Dashrath (Dasharatha in Sanskrit), father of Ram (Lord Rama). This is not the first time Yogi Adityanath has done this. Very recently, he renamed Allahabad as Prayagraj. Earlier, he had renamed Mughalsarai Junction after Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhaya, a towering ideologue of the Sangh and proponent of the philosophy of ekatma manavvaad (integral humanism).

As if that was not enough, Yogi Adityanath has promised to build a statue of Lord Rama that will be 151 m tall. 

While Yogi's core vote-bank remains happy with this renaming exercise, with some chanting "Jai Shri Ram" on Tuesday during his address in Ayodhya; the question that remains unanswered is whether the BJP is looking for an escape route to shrug off its promise of the late 1980s and early 1990s ― that it has not disowned ever since ― that it will build a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya on the disputed land someday? Gradually, all excuses like lack of a majority in Parliament, the absence of BJP government both at the Centre and Uttar Pradesh, etc, said to be the prerequisites for fulfilling of the promise, have turned inapplicable.