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Bengal Gets “Bangla Divas”, But Tussle Continues Over Dates

West Bengal gets its identity day or “Bangla Divas” in a resolution passed by the West Bengal State Assembly. Mamata Banerjee government ratified the resolution to celebrate “Bangla Divas” on Poila Baisakh, the first day of the Bengali calendar. The Assembly also passed the resolution declaring Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s composition “Banglar Mati Banglar Jol,” as the state song. Amid protest from the Opposition BJP, the resolutions were passed by 167-62 votes. The BJP legislators voted against the treasury bench resolutions. Incidentally, the Central government earlier this year issued a notification to celebrate June 20 as Poshchim Banga divas. Subsequently, the day was celebrated at the Raj Bhavan by Governor CV Ananda Bose here which led to a strong opposition from Didi. However, according to the Chief Minister, celebrating June 20 as Paschim Banga Divas was a “distortion of history” since the day also marks the division of undivided Bengal. Meanwhile, Opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari and other BJP legislators protested against the resolution and marched to Raj Bhavan where they submitted a memorandum to the Governor. While Didi has made it categorical that it does not matter to her government whether the Governor ratifies the date or not since it is a resolution not a bill, Adhikari maintained that since President Draupadi Murmu wished people of Bengal on June 20, it makes the official date to celebrate Bengal’s resurgence.