Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has formed a committee of MLAs to discuss another date for West Bengal Day and whether Bengal can have a state song. (PTI/File)
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has called an all-party meeting on August 29 to discuss the proposed West Bengal Day and a state song, weeks after Governor CV Anand Bose declared June 20 to be West Bengal ‘Foundation Day’ with the Centre’s nod but purportedly without discussions with the state government
When is ‘Paschim Banga Divas’ or West Bengal Day? The symbolic date to celebrate and honour the state is the latest bone of contention between the Mamata Banerjee-led state government and the BJP-led central government.
The Chief Minister has called an all-party meeting on August 29 to discuss the proposed West Bengal Day and a state song, weeks after Governor CV Anand Bose declared June 20 to be West Bengal ‘Foundation Day’ with the Centre’s nod but purportedly without discussions with the state government.
On June 20, 1947, two meetings of separate sets of legislators in the Bengal Assembly were held. One of those who wanted West Bengal as part of India, voted 58-21 in favour of the resolution by a majority. The other was of legislators of areas which eventually became East Pakistan. The latter set decided by 106-35 votes that the province should not be partitioned and voted 107-34 for East Bengal to join Pakistan in the event of Partition.
When the Governor declared June 20 as the state’s foundation day, Banerjee had in a letter urged him to call off the plans as it was a “painful” day for the state.
“I was born in this Bengal, just like others. We have spent our entire life in this state, but never heard about any ‘State Foundation Day’. Nothing of this sort has ever been celebrated in our history, nor has any act passed by the assembly,” she had told reporters at ‘Nabanna’ on June 20.
In a letter to Governor Bose, Banerjee had expressed “shock” at his “unilateral” decision to commemorate the ‘Foundation Day’. She had pointed out that the pain and trauma of Partition was such that people in the state have never commemorated any day as ‘Foundation Day’ since India’s Independence.
The Governor, however, went ahead with the commemoration, clarifying that the event was organised as per an advisory by the Centre that proposed celebrating foundation days of all states and Union Territories by all Raj Bhavans.
The CM has now formed committee of MLAs to discuss another date for West Bengal Day and whether Bengal can have a state song.
Speaking to News18, Minister Shobhon Chatterjee, one of the members of the committee, said: “The Governor does whatever he likes, he does not discuss things, but here, under the direction of the CM, this group of MLAs has discussed and decided that there can be a State Day, but it has to be good day. So we came up with the first day of Baisakh, the start of the Bengali new year. We have given the proposal to the Chief Minister. A state song will also be good, we have suggested that too. The CM has called an all-party meeting now.”
The proposal, however, is unlikely to go down well with the Centre. The proposal to change the state’s name to ‘Bangla’ is also pending for assent with the President.
“We will see what happens, but June 20 is already Bengal Day. Why another day now?” asked a BJP leader.
ISF MLA Naushad from Bhangar told News18: “The date is okay, but it should not become a competition between the state and Centre.”
That’s exactly where the issue seems headed.
Kamalika SenguptaKamalika Sengupta, Editor, Digital East of News18, is a multilingual journalist with 16 years of experience in covering the northeast, with specialisa…Read More