The ruling Trinamool-Congress combine and the Left parties on Friday decided to rename West Bengal Paschimbanga, a step designed to raise the state from 28th position alphabetically to 21st.
“Though the Trinamool Congress took the initiative, after the all-party meet, it now has the stamp of consensus,” said state parliamentary affairs minister Partha Chatterjee in a joint press conference with leader of the opposition Surya Kanta Mishra.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee convened the meeting at her assembly chamber to discuss the renaming of the state.
Various names such as Bangla, Banga, Banga Pradesh and also Paschimbanga were tossed around in the meeting. But only Paschimbanga earned consensus.
The state government has to propose the change to the union home ministry, which will then ask for the President’s approval to bring a constitutional amendment.
The cultural and educational fraternity supported the move partially.
Film director Rituparno Ghosh said, “Except for administrative purposes we do not use ‘West Bengal’. We are more familiar with the name ‘Bengal’, which would have been the ideal replacement. West Bengal has a tragic history of partition and we do not want to carry it along.”
IIM Calcutta director Shekhar Chaudhuri concurred.
Father Felix Raj, principal of St Xavier’s College, said: “This is the Bengali version of West Bengal. I feel it would have made more sense if it were just Bengal or Bongo.”
Historian Sugata Bose too is not elated. “I might have preferred a simpler name like ‘Bangla’.”