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Renaming West Bengal to Bangla not so easy; requires amending Constitution

It is to be seen what will be the central government's view now after the state assembly proposed to change the name 'Bangla' in all three languages

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during the annual Martyr's Day rally, in Kolkata on Saturday 	photo: SUBRATA MAJUMDER
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee during the annual Martyr's Day rally | Photo: SUBRATA MAJUMDER

Though the Assembly on Thursday passed a resolution to change the name of the state from to 'Bangla', the process for the final approval is a long drawn one that includes an amendment in the Constitution.

The first proposal of the government to rename had faced opposition from 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, officials said.

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.

When the 2011 proposal was received, there was an 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.

The government had also proposed that the name should be changed to 'Paschim Bango' (West Bengal in Bengali) but it too did not find favour in the central government.

It is to be seen what will be the central government's view now as the state assembly on Thursday proposed to change the name 'Bangla' in all three languages, the official said.

The name of any state was changed last time in 2011, when Orissa became Names of Bombay was changed to Mumbai in 1995, Madras to Chennai in 1996, Calcutta to in 2001.

The central government had approved the name changes for 11 cities of Karnataka, that include Bangalore to Bengaluru, in 2014.

First Published: Thu, July 26 2018. 21:03 IST