NEW DELHI/KOLKATA: The Centre Wednesday informed Rajya Sabha that it has not yet given its nod to change the name of West Bengal to 'Bangla' as proposed by the state government following which Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee dashed off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for expediting the matter.
Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai in a written response to a question from MP Ritabrata Banerjee said the Centre has not cleared the name 'Bangla' for West Bengal.
Changing a state's name requires a constitutional amendment and it is done after taking into consideration all relevant factors, he said.
On July 26 last year, the West Bengal assembly had passed a resolution unanimously to change the name of the state to 'Bangla' in the three most-spoken languages -- Bengali, Hindi and English -- and had sent the proposal to the Home Ministry.
It suggested 'Paschimbanga' in 2011, but it was turned down by the central government.
In 2016, it proposed 'Bengal' in English, 'Bangla' in Bengali and 'Bangal' in Hindi, which was also turned down.
Finally, it proposed the name 'Bangla'.
When the earlier proposals were received, there was an objection from the central government that suggested the name 'Bangla' had similarity to Bangladesh and it would be difficult to differentiate the two at international forums, a senior official privy to the developments said.
The 2018 proposal was also referred to the Ministry of External Affairs for its view.
The move to rename is aimed at climbing the alphabetical sequence of state names in which West Bengal appears last in the list now.
A senior state official said Banerjee requested the prime minister to do the needful to change the state's name to 'Bangla'.
The last time the name of a state was changed was in 2011 when Orissa became Odisha.
Bombay was renamed Mumbai in 1995, Madras as Chennai in 1996 and Calcutta as Kolkata in 2001.
The central government had approved name changes for 11 cities in Karnataka, including that of Bangalore to Bengaluru, in 2014.