Kolkata: Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said while the Centre has been changing names of places and institutions “almost every day” to suit its “interests”, it is dragging its feet on renaming West Bengal.
On July 26, the Bengal Assembly had passed a unanimous resolution to change the name of the state to “Bangla” in the three most-spoken languages — Bengali, Hindi and English — and sent the proposal to the Union home ministry.
Mamata’s government had proposed to rename the state on two earlier occasions as well — it suggested “Paschimbanga” in 2011, which was turned down by the Centre; in 2016, it proposed “Bengal” in English, “Bangla” in Bengali and “Bangal” in Hindi, which again was rejected.
“It is pending there (with the home ministry) for a long, long time,” Mamata said about the latest proposal.
“After Independence, there have been changes in the name of a few states and cities, like Orissa to Odisha, Pondicherry to Puducherry, Madras to Chennai, Bombay to Mumbai, Bangalore to Bengaluru etc., keeping in view the sentiments of the state and local language. Those are genuine,” she said in a statement.
The Assembly had passed the resolution to change the name of the state on the basis of local sentiments related to “our mother tongue, Bangla”, she added.
“The Union home ministry advised us to use the name Bangla in all three languages. Accordingly, our Assembly passed a unanimous resolution to change the name of the state to ‘Bangla’ in all three languages and sent it to the Union home ministry again,” Mamata said.
On reservations from some quarters that Bangla would sound very similar to Bangladesh, she said names should not create a hurdle as “there is a Punjab in our neighbouring country as well as in India”.
Criticising the BJP, she said a political party with “zero strength” in a state cannot decide on changing its name.
“The people of Bengal must get a positive response immediately,” Mamata said.