Bhopal: The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress party lock horns over renaming of the state capital from Bhopal to Bhojpal.

MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and the BJP and under the garb of cultural nationalism want to change the name of this Nawabi city to Bhojpal, while the Congress party has alleged that the ruling party is citing the issue merely to distract people’s attention from the real issues.

Nevertheless the state government has decided to send a proposal to the Centre to rename the state capital. "A proposal to change the name of Bhopal to Bhojpal will be sent to the Centre soon," Chouhan said recently at a function to mark the millennium celebrations of the legendary Raja Bhoj's coronation.

"If Bombay can be rechristened as Mumbai, Madras as Chennai, Calcutta as Kolkata and Bangalore as Bengaluru, why Bhopal cannot be renamed as Bhojpal," Chouhan stressed at the function attended by BJP President Nitin Gadkari.

Meanwhile, the government has also decided to rename Bhopal's famous Upper Lake constructed by Raja Bhoj as Bhojtaal and the VIP road as Raja Bhoj Marg.

A huge statue of Raja Bhoj was unveiled at the Upper Lake on Monday.

Taking inspiration from Raja Bhoj's water management skills, the government will spend Rs 25,000 crore on conserving water resources in the state, Chouhan said.

"We will take to the streets if the name of Bhopal is changed to Bhojpal. Bhopal has stood as a witness to Hindu-Muslim unity for the last 300 years," state Congress spokesperson Arif Masood told reporters last week.

While Bhopal CPI secretary Shaliendra Kumar Shaily, in a statement, said that the government's move to change the name of state capital was against democratic and secular values.