In a significant development, the West Bengal assembly on Thursday passed a resolution to observe Polia Baisakh - Bengali New Year Day - as the state day. This move came after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asserted that the day would be observed regardless of the approval of the state's governor. Later, Banerjee engaged in a war of words with the governor.
167 members voted in favour
The resolution was passed with 167 members, in a House of 294, voting in favour of it. Sixty-two MLAs from the BJP, which wants to observe June 20, the day the Bengal assembly voted in favour of partition, as the state day, voted against it while the lone ISF MLA abstained.
A resolution under Rule 169 was tabled in the assembly, proposing to observe Poila Baisakh, as "Bangla Diwas" and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore's 'Banglar Mat, Banglar Jol' (Bengal's soil, Bengal's Water) as the state song.
West Bengal CM in assembly
"I support the proposal of making Rabindranath Tagore's 'Banglar Mati Banglar Jol' the official song of Bengal. People of Bengal don't support June 20, which is synonymous with violence and bloodshed which marked partition as the state foundation day," Banerjee said while speaking on the resolution.
Banerjee had last week said the Centre's choice of June 20 as the state's foundation day is "wrong," and the day for observing the occasion will be decided in the assembly. On June 20, 1947, MLAs from West Bengal voted for partition, after a joint meeting with MLAs from East Bengal (which became East Pakistan) voted against partition of the state.
Reacting to Leader of opposition Suvendu Adhikari's comment that the resolution will not receive the Governor CV Ananda Bose's assent, the feisty TMC boss said, "If the governor doesn't give his nod to this resolution of observing state day on Poila Baisakh, we will still observe it." The BJP legislative party, which participated in the discussion, opposed the resolution, terming it as an "attempt to distort history".
(with inputs from PTI)