Request to rename Bengal yet to be approved: Centre
The Union home ministry informed the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that it has not yet approved the proposed change of the name of West Bengal to Bangla, prompting chief minister Mamata Banerjee to shoot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to expedite the renaming process.
In a written reply to independent MP Ritabrata Banerjee, minister of state for home Nityanand Rai said that the Centre has not cleared the name ‘Bangla’ for West Bengal. “Change in the name of a state requires constitutional amendment, after taking into consideration all relevant factors,” Rai replied.
Hours after the reply, Banerjee wrote to Modi requesting him to expedite the process of renaming the state as ‘Bangla’. “The name West Bengal is in English and Paschim Bangla in Bengali and it does not bear the testimony of the classical history that our state has,” Banerjee wrote.
She also requested Modi to get the required constitutional amendment done during the current session of Parliament.
Renaming the state has been on Banerjee’s agenda ever since she came to power in 2011. Trinamool has argued that at important inter-state or national meetings, West Bengal’s representatives get the chance to speak only after all other states just because West Bengal comes last in the alphabetical order of the states. But politically, Banerjee eyes an opportunity to grab the credit of renaming the state after a similar idea of the erstwhile Left Front government didn’t make much headway.
On July 26 last year, the state assembly, where Trinamool has a majority, passed a resolution supporting the change of name of West Bengal. The resolution said that the name of the state should be Bangla in the three most-spoken languages – Bengali, Hindi and English.
Soon after coming to power, Banerjee’s government suggested the Bengali name of the state-- ‘Paschimbanga’—to be used in English and Hindi too. This idea was turned down by the central government.
In 2016, the state proposed ‘Bengal’ in English, ‘Bangla’ in Bengali and ‘Bangal’ in Hindi, but this too was turned down. Earlier, the Centre pointed out that the word Bangla has similarity to Bangladesh and it would be difficult to differentiate the two at international forums, a senior official said.
Meanwhile, BJP MP from Bengal Locket Chatterjee caused disruption in the Lok Sabha during zero hour by accusing West Bengal the ruling TMC government of killing people for chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’. Chatterjee’s remarks disrupted the proceedings, prompting Lower House speaker Om Birla to adjourn the house for an hour. TMC leader Sudip Bandopadhyay later demanded that Chatterjee’s remarks be expunged from the records.
(with PTI inputs)