The organisations active in Bundelkhand region launched a fortnight long agitation on Wednesday to raise the demand for separate Bundelkhand state.
Hundred of supporters of the Bundelkhand Mukti Morcha led by Raja Bundela began 300 km long padyatra from Kamtanath Temple located in Chitrakoot.
The activists of Bundelkhand Ekikrit Party organized a signature campaign in support of separate state in Banda, Hamirpur and Mahoba districts. The national convener of the party, Sanjay Pandey said his organization would support the call of Mahoba bandh by the trader organizations on Thursday.
Even as various organizations including Bundelkhand Gana Parishad and Bundelkhand Jankranti Sangharsh Samiti plans to intensify their agitation the common people in the regional are apprehensive over the formation of separate state.
Will Bundelkhand go Jharkhand or Utarakhand way or will it fulfill the aspirations of the people? Will Dadus (feudal lords) rule the roost once the Bundelkhand state comes into shape? The questions are agitating the mind of the people both in the urban and rural areas.
The fear that feudal elements would capture political power and exploit the common people as well as the natural resources to serve their interest looms large among the rural folks.
Talking to HT the gram pradhan of Nauhai village Ramsewak Prasad says even after sixty years of independence the majority of the agriculture land is under the control of the feudal lords. “They enjoy money and muscle power. No doubt these elements would capture political power and common people would be forced to lead a life of deprivation”, he said.
A native of Baruwa village Nanhkau says only rich and powerful class is supporting the demand of the separate Bundelkhand state. The poor and marginalized class knows that they have been exploited since centuries and even after formation of the separate state they would get no reprieve.
A teacher in government primary school, Attarra, Ramsajivan Patel says major part of Bundelkhand is hilly terrain. “The agriculture land is scarce and only thirty percent is irrigated. The people here are dependent on supply of grain and other edible items from other parts of Uttar Pradesh. Hundreds of people died and thousands migrated during seven years drought. Instead of carving separate state both the central and state government should invest in the relief and reconstruction works”, he said.
A teacher in Gramoday University, Chitrakoot, Dr Kamlesh Thapak says “I am not against the formation of separate Bundelkhand state still there is need to mull over the pros and cons of the new state”. Crores would be invested in the establishment of the new capital, secretariat and government offices. Would a poor state be able to bear the burden? Or the new state would convert into a death zone.
An advocate Rudra Prakash Mishra says to divert the attention of the people from real issues the political parties were raising the demand for separate Bundelkhand state.A resident of Chitrakoot Mishra further said "the common people are still aloof from the demand and have not launched any agitation over the issue, as they know that with the formation of the separate state the feudalism would re-establish itself".
A social activist Gopal Bhai who is working in the Patha region of Chitrakoot termed the demand for the formation of separate state as political. It has nothing to do with welfare of the masses. “Formation of the separate state on geographical basis would not address the problem of the people here. Rather the government should check corruption in the government schemes and improve administration”, he said.