Millennium Post

Renaming Bengal: Mamata writes to PM Modi

Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, strongly objecting the Centre's decision to reject Bengal government's proposal to change the name of the state from West Bengal to 'Bangla'.

The development took place a couple of hours after the Minister of State (Home), in reply to the Parliament, said that the name of the state cannot be changed as it would require a Constitutional Amendment.

In her letter Banerjee pointed out how the proposal had been rejected on previous occasions as well. She requested the Prime Minister to accept the wishes of the people of Bengal and get the amendment done in the current session of the Parliament.

"I would request you to kindly accept the wishes of the people of West Bengal, as enshrined in the Resolution of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly and in the proposal of the West Bengal Cabinet, to rename our state as 'Bangla' in English, Hindi and Bengali. This re-christening will be in consonance with the history, culture and identity of our state and will reflect on the aspirations of our people," the letter reads.

The letter also mentions that the Chief Secretary of the state had communicated with the Union Home Secretary on August 21 last year, requesting him to initiate necessary action to change the name of the state.

In August 2016, the West Bengal Assembly had passed another resolution for changing the state's name to 'Bengal' in English, 'Bangla' in Bengali and 'Bangal' in Hindi. However, the Centre rejected the proposal in 2017, objecting to three separate names in three languages.

Parliamentary Affairs minister Partha Chatterjee said in the Assembly that the Centre's decision to refuse the state government's proposal regarding the name change has not only maligned the people of Bengal, but also belittled the heritage of the Assembly where a resolution was passed in July 2018 to change the name of the state from West Bengal to Bangla in all three languages.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Wednesday that the Mamata Banerjee government's proposal to change the name of West Bengal to 'Bangla' has been rejected.

Reacting sharply against the Centre's decision, the Opposition parties in the state, namely Congress and CPI(M), lent their support to the ruling party as the decision of changing the name of the state had been passed in the Assembly unanimously.

Leader of the Opposition Abdul Mannan said during a press conference outside the Assembly that the Centre could have easily executed the Constitutional Amendment in both the Houses of the Parliament and sought a clarification from the Centre on the issue.

"The names of many other states were changed through Constitutional Amendment in the past. In case of Bengal, they are reluctant to do so. The Centre has disgraced the Assembly and the people of Bengal," Mannan said.

While speaking on the issue in the Assembly, Chatterjee said: "The Centre is denying the heritage of Bengal. It is evident from its decision to reject our proposal. This is the third time that the Centre has rejected the Bengal government's appeal. Refusing a resolution unanimously passed in the Assembly can amount to showing disrespect to the state."

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