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HindustanTimes Tue,30 Sep 2014

Telangana cleared, now deal with Gorkhaland and Bodoland

Agencies  Kolkata/Guwahati/New Delhi, July 30, 2013
First Published: 19:38 IST(30/7/2013) | Last Updated: 20:57 IST(30/7/2013)

The victory of Telangana proponents has encouraged other statehood struggles that have been gaining momentum since it became clear the Centre will bite the bullet on bifurcating Andhra.

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On Tuesday, Gorkhaland and Bodoland proponents threatened to intensify their agitations saying that the Centre cannot deny them their "old and justified" demands now that it has heeded the Telangana call.

A senior Maharashtra Congress leader made the same argument while advocating statehood for Vidarbha in a letter to party president Sonia Gandhi over the matter.

"Now when the Telangana state has been agreed to be carved out of Andhra Pradesh, people of Vidarbha will have genuine resentment if their similar demand for creation of separate Vidarbha state is not simultaneously agreed to," wrote Vilas Muttemwar, seven-time Lok Sabha member representing Nagpur.

A group of pro-Vidarbha leaders has announced a sit-in agitation at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on August 5 to press for the demand.

The movements for Gorkhaland and Bodoland have been among the bloodier of statehood struggles. Apart from these three, there have been calls to carve out separate Bundelkhand, Harit Pradesh, Saurashtra, Purvanchal states.

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) general secretary Roshan Giri and Bodoland People's Front (BPF) MP Sansuma Khunggur Bwiswmuthiary said they have no option but to intensify their respective movements.

The GJM leader said Darjeeling hills and its adjoining areas were never part of West Bengal and therefore there was no reason "to forcefully keep us with West Bengal".

"We do not want to remain with West Bengal. It is a mystery how we were attached with West Bengal. We want Gorkhaland," Giri said.

BPF Lok Sabha member Bwiswmuthiary said they have called a public rally in Kokrajhar, Assam, on August 5 to renew their demand for separate Bodoland.

"Demand for Bodoland is several decades old. If the Centre can give Telangana, why not Bodoland. We will soon meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde to press our demand," he told PTI.

(With PTI inputs)

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