Maharashtra Congress opposes plans to rename public welfare schemes

The Maharashtra Congress on Saturday opposed purported plans by the state government to rename public welfare schemes like the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayi Arogya Yojana (RGJAY) after the late founder of Shiv Sena, Bal Thackeray.

State Congress president Ashok Chavan and Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam on Saturday shot off separate letters to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in this regard.

"The RGJAY was one of the significant schemes launched by the Congress government which has benefited lakhs of poor people avail the best of medical treatment and proved to be a life-saver for many," Chavan said.

"By incorporating some minor changes in it and renaming it after the late Bal Thackeray would be an injustice to its popularity," he said, adding politics must be kept out of public welfare measures.

In his letter to Fadnavis, Nirupam said that late former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was a popular mass leader of the country and was even conferred the Bharat Ratna.

"Changing the name of a scheme dedicated to him would hurt the sentiments of crores of people in the country... You must respect these public sentiments," Nirupam urged.

He asked Fadnavis to start some new schemes and name them after the late Bal Thackeray, instead of renaming an existing scheme.

Both Chavan and Nirupam said they would strongly protest any move by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena combine in the state to rename RGJAY after the late Bal Thackeray.

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