Parts of New Delhi have been renamed after the Gandhi family, ending a century-old association with British colonialists.
The Interior Ministry said Connaught Place and Connaught Circus would now be known as Indira (Gandhi) Crossing and Rajiv (Gandhi) Crossing, newspapers reported Sunday.The decision came as the Congress Party of Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao celebrated the 51st birthday of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Some politicians criticized the move to change the century-old name of the circle of white colonnaded buildings housing shops, airline companies and offices.
The downtown had been named after the Duke of Connaught, who visited India from his Northern Ireland province of Connaught in 1903. The duke laid the foundation stone for India's Parliament and the India Gate, a huge sandstone arch engraved with the names of 85,000 Indian soldiers who died in World War I.
New Delhi's chief minister, Madan Lal Khurana, whose Bharatiya Janata Party is the biggest opposition group in Parliament, said his state government was not consulted about the renaming. "Why don't they rename the entire city as Rajiv Colony?" he said.
Lawmaker Manishankar Aiyar, a fervent supporter of the Gandhi family, said the park in the center of the circle was named after India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, the road encircling it after his daughter, Indira Gandhi, and the area itself after her son, Rajiv Gandhi.