Race Course Road in Lutyens’ Delhi, where the Prime Minister of India resides, will now be called Lok Kalyan Marg.
The decision was taken in the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) meeting on Wednesday, which was attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi among other members.
Once the notification is issued, the PM’s residential address, 7, Race Course Road, will be known as 7, Lok Kalyan Marg.
Addressing a press conference after the meeting, Mr Kejriwal said he had earlier proposed that Race Course Road be renamed after Guru Gobind Singh. “He is not just a Sikh Guru but every one follows him. He was great saint,” Mr Kejriwal said, justifying his proposal.
“I had proposed renaming of the road after Guru Govind Singh while Ms. Lekhi said it should be renamed Ekatma Marg. I suggested that the PM should be consulted on this and both proposals to be sent to him. But the council members decided that on the basis of suggestions received from the public, the road should be renamed Lok Kalyan Marg,” the Delhi CM said.
It was also decided that the roundabout at Gurudwara Rakabganj near Parliament be renamed Guru Gobind Singh Chowk. “We had received recommendations from the Sikh community and the decision was taken,” Mr Kejriwal said.
The suggestions from Mr Kejriwal come even as the Aam Aadmi Party is pulling out all the stops to contest the Punjab elections next year and is desperately wooing the Sikh community.
On Tuesday, BJP MP from New Delhi, Meenakshi Lekhi, who is also a member of the NDMC, had proposed renaming Race Course Road as Ekatma Marg, based on the philosophy of the party’s ideologue Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay. But the proposal was not accepted.
Speaking to The Hindu, Ms Lekhi claimed that even though her proposal on Ekatma Marg got wide support, it was she who proposed the name Lok Kalyan Marg.
“After my suggestion to rename Race Course Road as Ekatma Marg was widely reported, I got calls from people across the country. They suggested renaming it as Lok Kalyan, which means the same as Ekatma and the words are simple. But Mr Kejriwal is trying to take the credit,” the MP said.
She said Mr. Kejriwal, eyeing the Punjab elections, wanted it to be renamed Guru Gobind Singh Marg and asked for Mr. Modi’s suggestions as the PM had allocated Rs. 100 crore for the birth centenary of the Sikh Guru.
“I informed them in the meeting that a road by the same name is already there in Delhi near Malviya Nagar and it cannot be done. Then Mr Kejriwal suggested that let the PM decide. But democracy works under law. The power to rename road rests with NDMC and even the PM cannot change it,” she said.
Last year, as per NDMC records, it was on Ms. Lekhi’s proposal that Aurangzeb Road was renamed Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Road.
NDMC chairperson Naresh Kumar said it was a unanimous decision to change the name of Race Course Road to Lok Kalyan Marg.