The West Bengal Assembly on Thursday passed a resolution renaming the state as ‘Bangla’, with the Left Front and the Congress backing the move by the Trinamool Congress government.
The BJP, however, preferred the existing name of the state – West Bengal in English and Paschim Banga in Bengali.
As per the resolution, the state would now be called Bangla in three languages – Bengali, English and Hindi.
The resolution would now be sent to the Union home ministry, and once it gives its approval, the new name would come into effect.
The change in the nomenclature would enable the state to move up in the alphabetical order and thus it can now present its point of view early in meetings of all states, where the alphabetical order is followed. So long, West Bengal languished at the bottom of the list, as its name started with ‘W’ in English.
In fact, with its new name, the state now comes fourth after Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Assam.
Soon after coming to power in 2011, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had expressed her frustration for her turn to speak coming last in meetings involving all states.
On August 29, 2016, the state assembly had passed a resolution proposing the name of the state be changed to ‘Bangla’ in Bengali, ‘Bengal’ in English and ‘Bangal’ in Hindi.
But after the Central government turned down the proposal of having three names for the state in three different languages, the Mamata Banerjee cabinet passed a resolution rechristening the state as ‘Bangla’ on September 8 last year.
On Thursday, Banerjee told the assembly that her government did not want any controversy regarding the name of the state, and so it has opted for ‘Bangla’.
“Earlier we had sent the proposal containing the three names in the three languages, but the Central government first sat on it for long time, and only recently they have advised us through a communication that we should choose one name, and not three,” she said.
“We don’t want any controversy related to the name of the state. So we have opted for Bangla,” she added.
In 2016, when the state assembly had debated the issue of name change, the Congress sought a referendum, while the Left Front moved an amendment that called for only one name for the state – Bangla. But the amendment was defeated then.
However, the BJP was against any change in the state’s name. “The name ‘West Bengal’ evokes lot of sentiments and memories of partition are involved with the name. So we want the state to retain its existing name, as our tradition and culture is linked to it,” state BJP president Dilip Ghosh told media persons.