West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday in New Delhi and raised various issues related to the state’s economy besides discussing the TMC government’s demand for changing the name of West Bengal to Bangla.
“The meeting with Prime Minister Modi was good. We discussed changing the name of West Bengal to ‘Bangla’. He has promised to do something about the matter,” Banerjee was quoted as saying by ANI.
The TMC supremo also invited PM Modi to inaugurate the world’s second-largest coal block in West Bengal. “I have requested the Prime Minister to attend the programme for world’s second-largest coal block Deocha Panchami in Birbhum district after Navratri puja. The project is worth Rs 12,000 crore,” Banerjee said soon after the meeting.
“It was a very good meeting, a government to government meeting so you should not read any politics into it,” Banerjee further said.
Responding to a question on the National Register of Citizens, less than a week after taking to the roads in a mega anti-NRC show, Banerjee almost sounded reconciliatory in Delhi when she said, “You are making a mistake. NRC is just for Assam, it has got nothing to do with us, there is no proposal or suggestion for implementing it anywhere else.”
In July while replying in Parliament, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said the Centre had not yet given its nod to change the name of West Bengal to Bangla as proposed by the state government. An infuriated Banerjee had then shot off a letter to PM Modi, urging him to expedite the process.
Last year in July, the West Bengal Assembly passed a resolution to change the name of the state to “Bangla”. The resolution was supported by the Congress and the Left too. However, the BJP raised strong objections against the move, dubbing it an attempt to undermine the history of West Bengal.
In August 2016, the TMC-led government had written to the Centre, suggesting three names — “Bangla” in Bengali, “Bengal” in English and “Bangal” in Hindi. The proposal was turned down by the Centre. Then the House zeroed in on “Bangla”.
The change of name was felt as ministers, senior bureaucrats and politicians from West Bengal often complained that they were attended to at the end of high-level meetings in Delhi, where representatives were called in alphabetical order as per the states’ names. The change in name will put the state’s name at the fourth spot, after Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, and Assam.
Mamata, who has been consistently attacking the Modi government over the economic slowdown, is on a three-day trip to the national capital. The last time the two leaders met was at the convocation ceremony of Visva Bharati University in Shantiniketan on May 25, 2018.