The West Bengal Assembly today passed a resolution to rename the state as ‘Bangla’. The state will now have to wait for a nod from the Union home ministry for the resolution’s final approval. The move was aimed at climbing the alphabetical sequence of state names in which West Bengal appears last in the list now, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had earlier said. The resolution said the state will be called Bangla in three languages — Bengali, English and Hindi.
The Centre had in the past rejected the state government’s proposal of having three names — Bangla (in Bengali), Bengal (in English) and Bangal (in Hindi). The Mamata Banerjee government’s move to rename West Bengal as ‘Paschim Bango’ in 2011 was also turned down by the Centre. She told the Assembly, “There were detailed discussions on the name change many times. Last time, it was discussed on August 29, 2016. The Union home ministry did not act on our proposal of changing the name for two years. Subsequently, I had personally requested the Union home minister.”
The chief minister said, “The home ministry told us that three names cannot be approved and we have to choose any one name for our state and pass another resolution in the Assembly.” Banerjee also said that the name ‘Bangla’ was chosen as “it is the identity of Bengal”. “We cannot say Bangal because it will be a problem for non-Hindi speaking people,” she said.
“So many states have changed their names. There was talk about renaming the state during the Left Front rule. We too had taken a decision earlier. I do not want to go into any controversy. Rather, I would say that let us pass the resolution unanimously and send it to the Centre for its approval,” she said.
Bengali is the fifth most-spoken language in the world, she said and referred to the International Mother Language Day. State Education Minister Partha Chatterjee moved the resolution in the House which was unanimously passed. BJP member Dilip Ghosh, who was present in the House, did not participate in the discussion.