Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday ruled out the possibility of carving a separate state out of Maharashtra, amid a growing demand by a few sections for an independent state of Vidarbha.
He also rubbished speculation of the possibility of a demand to separate Mumbai from the state, a day after a tweet by author Shobha De on the issue sparked controversy.
The clamour for statehood has grown across the country after the Centre cleared the formation of the state of Telangana.
Hailing the spirit of unity in Maharashta, Chavan said, “Unity is our strength. Maharashtra is a large state and richest in India. We will remain united.”
With regard to the tweet by De, which the author insisted was satirical, Chavan said, “The statement (by De) is frivolous and it doesn’t need to be taken seriously.”
The CM's statement put an end to attempts made by some Congress leaders in Vidarbha to revive the demand for a separate state. Vilas Muttewar, a Congress MP from Nagpur, had written to Congress president Sonia Gandhi with the statehood demand. Sections of the BJP and NCP have also supported the cause, but the Shiv Sena has strongly opposed it.
Sena president Uddhav Thackeray criticised the Centre for the creation of Telangana state and warned pro-Vidarbha leaders against demanding statehood. “The people of Vidarbha are in favour of a united Maharashtra,” Thackeray said in an editorial in Saamna.
A group of Sena workers also staged a protest outside De’s residence in south Mumbai.