Assam to drop ‘Rajiv Gandhi’ from national park’s name

Assam Pradesh Congress Committee condemns the ‘petty’ decision

Less than a month after the Centre renamed Khel Ratna after hockey legend Dhyan Chand, the Assam Cabinet has decided to drop former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s name from the Orang National Park.

Situated about 120 km north-east of Guwahati, the 79.28 sq. km Orang is one of Assam’s seven national parks and among the top three rhino habitats. It also has one of the highest density of tigers in the country.

“The decision to restore the original name of Orang National Park was taken following requests from the Adivasi groups in the State,” government spokesperson Pijush Hazarika said after the Cabinet meeting.

Orang was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1985 and was upgraded to a national park in 1999. It became the Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park during the Congress government headed by Tarun Gogoi.

The national park was declared a Tiger Reserve by the National Tiger Conservation Authority in March 2016. The area under the Tiger Reserve is 492.46 sq. km.

Petty attitude, says Congress

The Assam Pradesh Congress Committee condemned “such petty attitudes” of the BJP-led government.

“Just by changing the name of a park or an institution, they cannot wipe away the contributions of Rajiv Gandhi as the architect of future India. The computer and the mobile phones that the BJP is using today to further their agenda of rewriting history was made available to them through the IT revolution brought about by Rajiv Gandhi,” State Congress president Bhupen Borah said.

He pointed out that Rajiv Gandhi made an elected Congress government resign to make way for the Asom Gana Parishad — now the BJP’s ally — to contest the elections and form the government in Assam in 1985.

“He did this as he respected regional aspirations of the Assamese people at that time. But today’s BJP would not understand such kind of politics as they are only busy in changing names of institutions, rewriting an agenda-based history of India where they have zero contribution and buying politicians from other parties to form governments,” Mr. Borah said.

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