Bengal, Bangla and Bangal - proposed new names for West Bengal

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
  • Updated: Aug 18, 2016 18:33 IST
Congress, BJP, Left and Trinamool Congress leaders at the all-party meeting on Thursday. (Subhankar Chakraborty/HT)

It will be Bengal (in English), Bangal (in Hindi) and Bangla (in Bengali) for West Bengal. The ruling Trinamool Congress proposed three names in different languages at the all- party meeting in state Assembly on Thursday.

The proposal for three parallel names was floated at the all- party meeting by the state parliamentary affairs & education minister, Partha Chatterjee. He pointed out that name change has become necessary to jump the queue in the list of states that are drawn up in the alphabetical order. 

Incidentally, if the proposal is ultimately passed by the Parliament , the state will be placed in fourth position alphabetically after Andhra Pradesh, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. 

Read: Paschim Banga or Banga? Imminent name-change divides state over dropping West

 However, both the leader of the opposition in the West Bengal assembly, Abdul Mannan and the leader of left parties in the assembly, Sujan Chakrabarty opposed this hurried approach in the change of name. 

Both argued that instead of taking a cabinet decision and then passing it by the power of majority in the assembly, the state government should discuss with different sections of the society by setting up a commission for the same. 

Chakrabarty said that three different names for a single state are unnecessary. “In that case, there will be demand for Uttar Pradesh to get the English name as Northern Province. This is illogical. We are not against name change. But it should not be done in a hurried manner,” he said. 

Mannan questioned the logic put forward by the state government for the name change. “Just for the sake of jumping up in the alphabetical order cannot be any logic behind name change. Then there will be competition among states to jump up in order,” he said. 

Read: No West in Bengal? State cabinet adopts resolution for name change

 The BJP state president and legislator, Dilip Ghosh, however, said that his party is against the very idea of name change and hence BJP will oppose the change. “At the most West Bengal can be change to Paschim Banga, since that will serve the purpose of jumping up in the alphabetical order,” Ghosh said. 

There will be three day special session of the assembly on August 26, August 29 and August 30, where the proposal for name change will be cleared, following which it will be sent to the Centre for approval of the Parliament. 

That the state needs a change of name was a need felt long ago, during the Left Front rule, and the need was purely utilitarian in nature. Senior bureaucrats and politicians who used to attend meetings in Delhi where representatives of other states were present regularly complained that West Bengal appeared last in the deliberations thanks to the alphabetical order.

On a smaller level, chief minister Mamata Banerjee has enthusiastically taken to changing names in her state. She has changed the names of a number of metro stations such as Tollygunge, an important station, was rechristened as Mahanayak Uttam Kumar. Lee Road was named as Satyajit Ray Dharani. Arterial Eastern Metropolitan Bypass has been named as Biswa Bangla Sarani. Salt Lake stadium, the second largest stadium in the world was renamed as Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan. 

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