Rajya Sabha MP Parimal Nathwani has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to name the Vadodara airport after late visionary king Sir Sayajirao Gaekwad III, who ruled the erstwhile princely state of Baroda from 1875 to 1939. The Prime Minister is set to inaugurate the new international airport terminal building here on October 22. In a letter to Modi, Nathwani, an independent MP from Jharkhand has written, "I request you to name the Vadodara airport after the noble and popular ruler of erstwhile princely Gaekwadi state of Baroda - Sir Sayajirao Gaekwad III." "Over the years, NGOs, business organisations, educationists, artists and others have been raising this demand to name the airport after Gaekwad," Nathwani said. "Gaekwad played a key role in development of Baroda's textile industry, and his educational and social reforms included among others, ban on child marriage, legislation of divorce, removal of untouchability, spread of education, development of Sanskrit," he added. Nathwani also said that late BR Ambedkar in a letter written had thanked Gaekwad for making him (Ambedkar) what he was. As per Nathwani, "It (naming of airport after Gaekwad) will inspire the youth to undertake philanthropic work and give them an opportunity of learning lessons on effective leadership". Recently, Union Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale had also demanded rechristening of the Vadodara airport after Gaekwad. Shubangini Devi Raje Gaekwad, a member of the Royal family and Chancellor of Mahararaj Sayajirao University of Baroda has also penned a latter to Modi, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar requesting them to name the airport after Gaekwad.
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