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Dalhousie or 'Netaji Nagar' –renaming controversy hots-up

Shimla: British era popular tourists spot—Dalhousie, set-up 1853 by British officer Lt Col Napier, is back in the news, after nearly three decades over name change controversy, triggered by BJP Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy last week.

Swami, in a letter written to Himachal Pradesh Governor Bandaru Dattatreya has demanded renaming of the colonial era town ,after Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, who had visited the town in 1937.

In 1991-92, the BJP government led by Shanta Kumar had changed the name of Dalhousie as "Netaji Subhas Nagar" but soon after this ,the congress government led by Virbhadra Singh restored it back as Dalhousie.

After Swami racking-up the name change controversy, Shanta Kumar has also shot off a letter to Governor endorsing his earlier stand and suggested for name change.

The issue has already created a huge controversy as locals have vehemently opposed the move to change Dalhousie's name, which they asserted will be a huge blow to international fame of Dalhousie since been a famous tourists destination.

Sitting Congress MLA and former minister Asha Kumari has taken a strong front against the Swami's letter and written to Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur not to fall in the trap of name change ,and instead respect the sentiments of the locals ,who are opposed to the name.

"There is no politics behind my opposing the move. The locals ,belonging to all sections, traders ,hoteliers and old natives –who are stake holders in the name, doesn't want any tempering with the history of the town. I being their representatives have decided to raise the voice and suggest that it should not be done" she asked the Chief Minister.

On Thursday, a social body – Ramniya Dalhousie Welfare Society also shot off a letter to Governor strongly resisting the move on name change. It said "changing the name to something else will not only affect the history, it will also hit the tourism sector as a whole".

"The society said the name change is unnecessary, berserk and bizarre. We are totally against it" it wrote to Governor.

They suggested that some other places including hospitals etc can be named after Netaji to serve a larger cause of the society.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur when contacted said he was not aware of any letter written by Swami in this regard and there is also no proposal for name of the change.

Asha Kumari maintains that there was no disrespect to Netaji, whose landmarks are very well preserved and maintained.

The name change will not serve any purpose rather it will amount to tinkering with the history.

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