A day after the Congress cleared statehood for Telangana, similar demands for smaller states erupted across the country. The nation’s top leaders, cutting across party lines, came out in support of smaller states, especially with regard to Uttar Pradesh, even as numerous splinter groups announced fresh series of agitations.
Welcoming the Telangana decision, BSP chief Mayawati reiterated her demand for dividing Uttar Pradesh into four parts. Other leaders like BJP’s Uma Bharti, Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh and UPA ally RLD’s leader Jayant Chowdhury too favoured reorganisation of the largest electoral state.
Mayawati reminded the Centre that her government had already passed a resolution in the UP assembly for carving out Purvanchal, Bundelkhand, Awadh Pradesh and Pashchimanchal.
BJP vice president Uma Bharti, demanding a States Reorganisation Commission (SRC) to take a holistic approach towards such demands, said top priority should be given to Bundelkhand.
The RLD wanted for Harit Pradesh to be carved out of UP. Jayant Chaudhary, an RLD MP and civil aviation minister Ajit Singh’s son, said: “The Telangana statehood is an inspiration for us.”
Union heavy industries minister and NCP leader Praful Patel came out in support of a separate Vidharbha state while Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar maintained that smaller states led to better governance.
Congress Working Committee member Vilas Muttemwar has also written to party chief Sonia Gandhi for a Vidarbha state.
Union minister Jairam Ramesh said UP’s current structure made it “difficult to govern”.
He added: “If the Congress comes to power in UP, it will ask the Centre to appoint another SRC. Bihar and Madhya Pradesh have been reorganised. The reorganisation of UP is overdue.”
His party colleague and Lok Sabha MP Jagadambika Pal said he would meet Sonia and the PM to demand the Purvanchal state.
In Darjeeling (West Bengal) and Karbi Anglong (Assam) too, regional groups have decided on a fresh series of agitations to renew their demand for separate states.
Meanwhile, Thursday’s cabinet meeting may decide to form a goup of ministers (GoM) to initiate the process of Andhra Pradesh’s bifurcation.