KOKATA, Sep 7: The West Bengal assembly today passed a resolution to designate Poila Baisakh (Bengali New Year Day) as the State Day, with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee saying it would be observed irrespective of the governor’s approval amid their ongoing verbal conflict.
The resolution was passed with 167 members voting in favour, or 73 per cent of those voting and present. Sixty-two MLAs of the BJP, who want to observe June 20, the day Bengal assembly voted in favour of Partition, as the State Day, voted against it, while the lone ISF MLA abstained.
The resolution under Rule 169 was tabled in the assembly, proposing to observe Poila Baisakh as “Bangla Dibas” and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Banglar Mati, Banglar Jol’ (Bengal’s soil, Bengal’s water) as the state song.
The resolution said on July 26, 2018, the assembly had passed a resolution to rename the state as “Bangla”, which is why this House decided to celebrate Poila Baisakh as “Bangla Dibas”.
“I support the proposal of making “Banglar Mati Banglar Jol” the official song of Bengal. People of Bengal don’t support June 20, which is synonymous with violence and bloodshed,” Banerjee said while speaking on the resolution.
Pointing out that her party was opposed to the BJP’s demand, she said, “If we don’t oppose it, this day (June 20) would be established as the state foundation day. That is why we decided to bring this resolution. There has never been any precedent of observing this date as the foundation day.”
“We are taking this up right now because others are desperate to remember the wrong day as foundation day. June 20 is a day of sadness,” she said.
Without naming anyone, Banerjee hit out at the saffron camp for not contributing to the country’s freedom and not being connected to the land of Bengal.
“Those who snatched Gandhiji’s life, they are trying to teach us history. We don’t do politics of terrorism. The Centre had unilaterally announced June 20 as the state foundation day. We condemn the move,” she said.
The Chief Minister said various states have their own foundation day, which is linked to the history of the states.
However, Bengal, despite having a rich and ancient history, never celebrates its Foundation Day “because we didn’t have the conditions that were seen by other states.”
“If we need a Foundation Day, it should be a day free from violence. If any decision has to be taken for Bengal, careful thought must be given. We got a few suggestions, including celebrating the day on Raksha Bandhan. I received suggestions from all, including Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, and Poila Boishakh emerged as the front-runner,” she said.
Expressing her grievance over the Centre sitting over the proposal of renaming the state to “Bangla,” Banerjee said when the BJP is ousted from power at the Centre, “the renaming would take place.”
“We wanted our state to be named Bangla instead of West Bengal. When there can be two Punjabs, why not two Bangla? Today, you are in power; you didn’t do it. But when you are overthrown, we will rename the state,” she said.
Last week, Banerjee said the Centre’s decision of June 20 as the state’s foundation day was “wrong,” and the day for observing the occasion would be decided in the assembly.
The CM had convened an all-party meeting last month to seek an opinion on the issue. However, the meeting was boycotted by the BJP, Congress and the CPI (M).
Reacting to Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari’s comment that the resolution will not receive Governor CV Ananda Bose’s consent, the feisty TMC boss said, “If the governor doesn’t give his nod to this resolution of observing the state day on Poila Baisakh, we will still observe it”.
Later, while talking to reporters, Banerjee said the resolution doesn’t need a nod from the Governor.
“BJP leaders do not know parliamentary norms. Only a Bill passed by the assembly needs a nod from the Governor; this is not necessary in case of a resolution. We will send a copy of the resolution to Raj Bhavan (for information),” she said.
The BJP legislative party, which participated in the discussion, opposed the resolution, terming it as an “attempt to distort history”.
“Why did the West Bengal government, all of a sudden, decide to bring in a resolution on the issue? This is because June 20 was observed as the state foundation day this year. This resolution would also have the same fate just like the name change of the state, the resolution against BSF and many others,” Adhikari said.
After the resolution was passed, the BJP staged a walkout from the assembly.
Following the passage of the resolution, the song, ‘Banglar Mati, Banglar Jol’, was sung by Banerjee and other TMC MLAs in the House.
Later, the national anthem was also sung by the MLAs in the House.
The BJP MLAs later met the Governor, submitted a memorandum, and said the resolution was an attempt to obliterate West Bengal’s history and a horrendous move to whitewash the unimaginable horrors endured by the refugee Bengali Hindus during partition. (PTI)