The Centre on Wednesday informed the Rajya Sabha that it has not given its approval to change the name of West Bengal to Bangla as proposed by the state government in 2018, PTI reported.

Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai in a written response to a question from Rajya Sabha MP Ritabrata Banerjee said the Centre has not cleared the name “Bangla” for West Bengal. “Change in the name of a state requires constitutional amendment, after taking into consideration all relevant factors,” Rai said.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to pass the amendment in the ongoing session of the Parliament to change the state’s name to Bangla, ANI reported.

On July 26, 2018, 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, PTI reported.

In 2011, Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress-led government had proposed to rename the state “Paschim Bango” which was rejected by the central government. In August 2016, the state passed a resolution to rename the state in three languages – Bangla in Bengali, Bengal in English, and Bangal in Hindi. The Centre turned down this proposal too.

The move to rename the state is aimed at giving it an advantage in meetings led by the Union government where opportunities to speak are allotted on an alphabetical basis.

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.