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Monday, Oct 14, 2019

‘Not politics’: Mamata Banerjee meets PM Modi with an invite and a request

india Updated: Sep 18, 2019 18:40 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
         

At her first meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in two years, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday invited PM Modi to inaugurate the world’s second largest coal block in West Bengal and asked him fast-track approval to the state’s request to change its name to Bangla.

Banerjee told reporters that she had requested Prime Minister Modi to launch the Deocha Pachami coal block in Birbhum district, which the state insists, has the potential to generate nearly one lakh jobs. The coal block is also expected to bring in investments to the tune of Rs 12,000 crore.

Banerjee has also sought the prime minister’s intervention to get approval for the state’s name change, following up on an effort to move West Bengal up the alphabetical order of India’s states. “He has promised to do something about the matter,” Mamata Banerjee said.

“If they (Centre) have alternate suggestions to rename the state, we will welcome them. We want to change state of name to Bangla and I have asked PM Modi for his suggestions as well,” she said.

The state government had suggested ‘Paschimbanga’ in 2011, but it was turned down by the central government. In 2016, In 2016, the state proposed ‘Bengal’ in English, ‘Bangla’ in Bengali and ‘Bangal’ in Hindi, which was also turned down.

Last year, it took the feedback from the centre on its earlier proposals into account to request the Centre to change the state’s name to ‘Bangla’. But this proposal also hasn’t had a smooth ride. There is a view at the Centre that it is strikingly similar to Bangladesh and it would be difficult to differentiate the two at international forums.

Mamata Banerjee’s party has sought to underscore that the chief minister wanted to keep political matters and administrative issues separate. Mamata Banerjee sought to make the same point when she later met reporters. “There was nothing political about the meeting… It was a government to government meeting,” she said.

First Published: Sep 18, 2019 17:36 IST

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