Resolution to change name of West Bengal to Bengal passed, BJP opposes


The West Bengal Assembly on Monday passed a resolution to change the name of the state from West Bengal to ‘Bangla’ in Bengali, ‘Bengal’ in English and ‘Bangal’ in Hindi amidst strong opposition by BJP and reservation over the process by Congress and Left Front.

BJP questioned the very justification of the name change while the Congress demanded either a mass vote on the issue or wanted a committee to be set up to decide it. The Left Front on the other hand said that there should be an all-party meeting to decide on the matter. The resolution was moved by state Parliamentary Affairs minister Partha Chatterjee under rule 169, which said that the name of the state would be ‘Bangla’ in Bengali , ‘Bengal’ in English and ‘Bangal’ in Hindi.

It was passed by 189-31 votes. Speaking on the motion, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said “The name Bangla has a historical and cultural background. I don’t have any problem with the name of ‘Bango’ either. But most of the people want the name ‘Bangla’. In English it will be ‘Bengal’ so that there will be no confusion with the name of neighbouring Bangladesh.” “Whenever we go out of India or to some other state we are known as people from Bengal. In 2011 we had once proposed to change the name of the state, but it was held back by the Centre. There was no decision regarding it. So we decided to bring it once again to change the name of the state to ‘Bangla’,” Banerjee said.

Later speaking to reporters, Banerjee said “Those who are opposing the name change just for the sake of politics should be ashamed. It is a historic blunder and the history will not forgive them.”

“It doesn’t matter who opposed it. The West Bengal assembly passed it”, she said. She said that the matter would now be sent to the central government and then it will be placed in Parliament.

“I will request the central government to pursue the matter so that it can be placed in Parliament. We want it to be done as early as possible,” she said.

The chief minister said she had a talk with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the the name change. “I told him (Rajnath Singh) that we passed it (resolution) in the Assembly. Now you pursue it,” she said. Banerjee also criticised state BJP president and MLA Dilip Ghosh for his recent comments that he would not allow it to be passed. “I will see how he can stop it. I will speak to the Union home minister. Who is he (Dilip Ghosh) to stop it?” Banerjee said.

Photo: Howrah bridge (Ashmak Maity)

Leader of Opposition Abdul Mannan said that Congress wanted either a mass vote on the issue or wanted a committee to be set up to decide it. On Mannan’s statement, Banerjee said “We all had gone through a mass vote three months back in the state (during Assembly poll) and the results are before us”. Left Front legislative party leader Sujan Chakraborty said that they were not against the name change.

“We don’t oppose the new name ‘Bangla’ but we wonder how there can be three names for the state – one in Bengali, one in English and another in Hindi,” he said. “Uttar Pradesh is called Uttar Pradesh in all languages and not called Northern Province in English,” he pointed out. BJP MLA Dilip Ghosh opposed the name change citing that it constituted an attempt to wipe out the painful history of the Partition that the state had gone through. “We have already made our position clear on this issue. We will also tell the central government that the state should be called ‘Paschimbanga’ in all languages”, he said. BJP leader and Union minister Babul Suprio, however, favoured the name ‘Bangla’.

“Earlier I had a talk with TMC leader Derek O’Brien and told him that ‘Bangla’ is better than ‘Bango’,” he said. BJP National secretary Rahul Sinha described it as a “personal opinion” of Babul Supriyo. “He has no conception of the historical perspective. He mostly lived in Mumbai. BJP is fighting for retaining the name ‘Pachimbanga’,” he said.

(With PTI inputs)