With the decks being cleared for the creation of Telangana as India’s 29th state, the long-standing demand for the division of Uttar Pradesh, especially the formation of separate states of Harit Pradesh (west UP) and Bundelkhand, is set to gain momentum.
So far the demand for carving more states out of UP had been nothing more than poll-time talk. The movement could never take the Telangana-type turn because the political parties were divided and mass mobilisation could not take place over the issue.
The proponents of UP’s division are of the opinion that in view of its big size (2.40 lakh sq km) and population (20 crore), the state’s balanced development as a single unit is not possible. The state accounts for 16% of the total area of the country.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) president and union civil aviation minister Chaudhury Ajit Singh have asked for a division of the state. However, the ruling Samajwadi Party is opposed to the move.
In Bundelkhand, actor-turned politician Raja Bundela has been spearheading a campaign for statehood.
In west UP, the Harit Pradesh issue has largely been the RLD’s baby. Apart from local voices in Poorvanchal (east UP) during the 2012 assembly election, former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh undertook a monthlong yatra to mobilse support.
But after the SP’s resounding victory, the issue was buried.
While supporting the plan for Telangana’s statehood, Mayawati on Wednesday reiterated her demand for the division of UP.
However, PWD minister Shivpal Yadav told newsmen the SP was opposed to further division and the state government would not take any such action.
Congress general secretary incharge of party affairs in UP Madhusudan Mistry said that after the clearance for Telangana at the Congress working committee (CWC), some people raised Bundelkhand also and the leadership had been apprised of the matter.
He, however, evaded a question on Harit Pradesh and Poorvanchal. State BJP president Dr Laxmikant Bajpai said the party in principle was in favour of smaller states but there should be a proper consideration of all aspects in the matter.
Congress MP Jagdambika Pal advocated a separate state of Poorvanchal as east UP was neglected over the decades.
Similarly union minister of state Pradeep Jain Aditya, MP from Jhansi, said the Bundelkhand straddling parts of UP and Madhya Pradesh deserved to be a separate state.