West Bengal will soon cease to exist — only in name though — as the process to rename it moved a step forward on Monday when the proposal was voted on the floor of the assembly. Minutes later, chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced at a press conference that her government would also create a new logo for the state.
Parliamentary affairs minister Partha Chatterjee passed a resolution, which said that the name of the state would be ‘Bangla’ in Bengali , ‘Bengal’ in English and ‘Bangal’ in Hindi.
Now, the Centre has to get the proposal approved by two-thirds majority in both houses of Parliament as it needs an amendment to the Constitution. Only then would the Centre issue notification for the change in name.
“People have accepted the names Bengal and Bangla. You can find it from the way they speak. Common people use these two words all the time,” stated the CM. “CPI(M) and Congress have made a historic blunder by opposing the change in name,” she remarked, adding, “Monday will go down as a day of shame in the history of CPI(M) and Congress for opposing the proposal.”
Incidentally, both RSS and state BJP leaders have initiated a campaign to block the name change. They have already held parleys with the Union home minister to obstruct the proposal. Of course, the move was a mere formality as the ruling Trinamool Congress has a majority of 211 in a house of 294.
BJP state president Dilip Ghosh earlier told HT that they have requested the Centre not to table the proposal in Parliament as it would erase the memories of the 1947 Partition.
In fact, when the Trinamool came to power for the first time in 2011, Banerjee was quite enthusiastic about the change of name but relented after the Opposition reminded her about how the people had suffered following the Partition. Of course, the educated Bengali middle class had been rooting for the change in name for long as West Bengal had been lagging behind in every aspect, including psychologically, as W was fourth from last among the alphabets.
Now, the state government has justified the name change on utilitarian grounds. Bureaucrats argue that at all-India level meets, they get to present their views last as West Bengal appears last in the alphabetical order; and, by then, most decision makers are too tired to apply their minds properly and the state ends up being the loser.
A change to Bengal will allow the state to leapfrog to the fourth spot after Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Assam.
“The Centre should pass it without objection. If necessary, I shall speak to the Union home minister,” stated the CM. She even reminded that she had supported the Left government when it wanted to change the name. “Since they (the Left) couldn’t push it through, they are opposing it now. The Centre has the habit of not doing much about some important issues.”