Today's Paper

West Bengal may be renamed PaschimBanga

Consensus among political parties

‘PaschimBanga' has emerged as the consensus choice of all political parties in the State which sat together in Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's chamber in the Legislative Assembly here on Friday to discuss a new name for West Bengal.

Briefing journalists after the meeting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee said that while the Chief Minister was not entirely satisfied with this proposed change, she favoured a consensus approach. The parties which attended the meeting included the ruling Trinamool Congress, the Indian National Congress, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Communist Party of India, the Forward Bloc and the Revolutionary Socialist Party.

Mr. Chatterjee said that while the proposed name would be in sync with the State's historic background, it would bring some administrative advantages also. Opposition leader Surya Kanta Mishra said there was consensus on the new name. Earlier this month the Chief Minister had called an all-party meeting at the Secretariat where, after some discussions, it was decided to set up a two-member committee to discuss the issue among themselves and with historians. The committee comprised Mr. Chatterjee and Dr. Mishra.

Mr. Chatterjee said on Friday that they had talked with historians and a few names had come up, of which ‘PaschimBanga' was uniformly favoured by all on Friday. He said a Bill would have to be passed in Parliament now to make possible this name change; a Constitutional amendment will have to be made on the basis of a resolution passed in the Assembly.

Bifurcation of districts

On the issue of district bifurcation which too was discussed at the all-party meeting, Mr. Chatterjee said while everyone agreed on the need, Ms. Banerjee said the matter would be discussed keeping all aspects in mind.

The State Government felt that for toning up administration it was necessary to bifurcate some of the larger districts as most other States have done. “It also helps in getting a larger slice of Central funds,” the Chief Minister had said. However, like the name change issue, this too was sent for discussion by all political parties. It was decided that District Magistrates would hold talks with district level leaders on this issue. The State Government wants to create four more districts (it has 19 now) by bifurcating Jalpaiguri in North Bengal, and Bardhaman, Paschim Medinipur, and North 24 Parganas in South Bengal. The Left had maintained that they too had felt the need, but had not implemented the plan.

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