West Bengal to be called Bangla

The West Bengal Assembly unanimously passed a resolution to change the state’s name to Bangla.

However, the change will require the approval of the Union home ministry to come into effect.

The move follows months of back-and-forth between the state and the Centre over the proposal.

The Centre had earlier turned down the state government’s proposal to change the name of West Bengal to ‘Bengal’ in English and ‘Bangla’ in Bengali. Another proposal, suggesting three names — Bangla (in Bengali), Bengal (English) and Bangal (Hindi) — was also rejected.

The state government, led by chief minster Mamata Banerjee, then decided to send another proposal to change the name to Bangla in all the three languages, state education minister Partha Chatterjee said.

On Thursday, Mamata Banerjee informed the legislators that the Centre had told the state that they can accept only one name and not three. Then the House zeroed in on Bangla as the new name.

Incidentally, the state government had decided to rename the state as ‘Bengal’ after its earlier proposal of rechristening it as ‘Paschim Bango’, made in 2011 when the Trinamool Congress took office, failed to get the Centre’s approval.

The primary reason for changing the state’s name was that whenever there was a meeting of all the states, West Bengal figured at the bottom of the list which is prepared in alphabetical order.

A change in name would ensure the state came the fourth after Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Assam.

Incidentally, the name of the state capital, Calcutta — that was also the national capital till 1911 — was changed to Kolkata in January 2001 by the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee-led Left Front government.

After she assumed power in May 2011, chief minister Mamata Banerjee changed the names of a number of roads and metro stations.

Union minister Babul Supriyo, an MP from the state, also tweeted in 2016 expressing support for ‘Bangla’.

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