The Hindu

Ahead of PM’s trip, station gets Gond queen’s name

M.P. Chief Minister announces renaming of Habibganj

- ANUP DUTTA

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has set the stage for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the State by renaming the Habibganj railway station after Rani Kamlapati, an 18th century Gond queen.

“I thank PM Modi for renaming Bhopal’s Habibganj railway station after the tribal queen Rani Kamlapati. She was the pride of Gond society. She was the last Hindu queen of Bhopal,” Mr. Chouhan tweeted in Hindi.

Two days ahead of Mr. Modi’s scheduled inaugurati­on of the modernised and redevelope­d railway station at a cost of ₹100 crore under a public private partnershi­p, the BJP Government wrote to the Union Home Ministry for renaming it.

Many believe Rani Kamlapati was the widow of Gond ruler Nizam Shah, chief of Ginnorgarh. They say the station was built in 1905 and was named Shahpur (one popular area in new Bhopal is known as Shahpura, named after the Shahpura lake).

In 1979, when the Railways was looking for land for the expansion of the station, Habib Miya decided to give land free of cost and the station was named after him.

Mr. Modi’s visit will take

place with a special focus on tribal people. The State Government has organised an Adivasi Gaurav Divas to mark the birth anniversar­y of Birsa Munda and has termed him Lord ahead of the PM’s visit.

More than two lakh people from different tribes will participat­e in the programme and one crore tribals will be connected to it through webcast, say Government estimates.

Birth anniversar­y

“There are two contexts of the mahasammel­an. First, it is being held on the birth anniversar­y of Lord Birsa Munda. It is a matter of pride for the State that Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will address it,” Mr. Chouhan said reviewing the preparatio­ns.

The Gond community is the largest tribal group in India with more than 1.2 crore population.

The community is largely

spread in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattsiga­rh and Jharkhand. And political parties take a lot of effort to win over the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe voters.

In the previous Assembly election, the BJP recorded its worst performanc­e in a decade in reserved seats across Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisga­rh and Jharkhand.

It won just two of the 28 reserved seats in Jharkhand in the 2019 Assembly election. In Chhattisga­rh, it has three of the 29 seats reserved for the STs, and won 16 of the 47 reserved ST seats in Madhya Pradesh in the Assembly elections held in 2018.

Madhya Pradesh Food and Civil Supplies Minister Bisahulal Singh and a senior tribal leader admits that the BJP was thrown out of power because it was unable to retain the reserved seats. The sammelan is going to help the party, Mr. Bisahulal said.

 ?? ■ A.M. FARUQUI ?? Wiping out: The name board of the Habibganj railway station in Bhopal being changed on Saturday.
■ A.M. FARUQUI Wiping out: The name board of the Habibganj railway station in Bhopal being changed on Saturday.

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