NEW DELHI — India’s most popular ashram is being named in an unprecedented move by the BJP government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as the state of Tamil Nadu faces mounting pressure from the opposition to rename it.
In a news conference in New Delhi, Modi said the name will be given to the Prasanayam Ashram in the northeastern state of Odisha and that he had personally decided to name it.
He also announced that a committee will be set up to decide the fate of the ashram.
In the run-up to the general election, the Modi government has been under pressure from opposition parties and opposition parties’ allies to rename the ashrams.
The decision to rename Prasanskam in Odisha, the state with the highest number of Muslims in the country, is likely to anger a group of Muslims who want the name changed to the more appropriate Pritamam Ashrama in Tamilnadu.
A similar controversy erupted over the name of the Ramdev ashram outside Kannur in Kerala in March, when opposition leaders and leaders of various political parties protested at the name change.
In response, the BJP said the Ram Dev ashram had been named in the state, but not in Odita.
The new name for the ashrama is expected to be announced within weeks, said a senior government official who spoke on condition of anonymity.