Explained: Why is Centre opposing West Bengal's name change to Bangla
New Delhi, July 03: Union government on Wednesday refused West Bengal Chief Minister's Mamata Banerjee's demand to change West Bengal's name to Bangla.
On July 26, 2018, the West Bengal assembly had passed a resolution to change the state's name to 'Bangla' from West Bengal. The resolution was sent to the Union home ministry for approval.
The TMC 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.
Why Mamata wants to change state name?
The West Bengal government proposed a change in the name of West Bengal arguing that because it came at the bottom of the list of names of states as far as the alphabetical order was concerned, it should be moved up.
According to the reports, this caused the state to be deprived of much of the funds for various projects because during discussions with the Central agencies about disbursement, by the time West Bengal was called, much of the benefits are already given out to other states.
Bangla name change not easy, needs amendment
A resolution to change the name of the state from West Bengal to 'Bangla', the process for the final approval is a long drawn one that includes an amendment in the Constitution.
When the fresh proposal formally comes to the Union Home Ministry, it will prepare a note for the Cabinet to bring an amendment to the Schedule 1 of the Constitution. After that, the Constitution amendment bill will be introduced in the Parliament, which has to be approved with a simple majority, before the President gives his assent.
Mamata slams Centre of vested interest
Banerjee accused the BJP governments of changing names of "historical places and institutions unilaterally" to suit their vested interests. "In respect of Bengal, the attitude is totally," she wrote on Facebook.
The chief minister said that the state assembly had passed a unanimous resolution to change the name from West Bengal to Bangla "on the basis of local sentiments" associated with Bangla. But the Centre advised the government to make it 'Bangla' in all three language, and it was done accordingly. "Yet, it is still pending there," she said.
Why Centre rejecting the name change proposal?
The first proposal of the Mamata Banerjee government to rename West Bengal had faced opposition from the the Centre on the ground that it sounded similar to a neighbouring country's name, Bangladesh. Also, the Centre wanted just one name for the state in three languages -- Bengali, Hindi and English.
When the 2011 proposal was received, there was objection from the Central government that suggested name 'Bangla' has similarity to Bangladesh and it would be difficult to differentiate the two at international forums, said a senior official privy to the developments then.
At that time, the state government had proposed three names -- Bangla (in Bengali), Bengal (in English) and Bangal (in Hindi).
The central government had objected that there should not be separate names in the three languages.
However, the Trinamool government continued to try to push through with a proposal to officially change the state's name.
Last time when name of a state changed
The name of any state was changed last time in 2011, when Orissa became Odisha. Names of Bombay was changed to Mumbai in 1995, Madras to Chennai in 1996, Calcutta to Kolkata in 2001.The central government had approved the name changes for 11 cities of Karnataka, that incluide Bangalore to Bengaluru, in 2014.