The demand for a separate state of Vidarbha gained momentum with two Congress Parliamentarians — Vilas Muttemwar from Nagpur and Datta Meghe from Wardha — staging a day-long sit-in demonstration on Sunday.
Other pro-Vidarbha Congress leaders like State Minister for Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development Nitin Raut, legislators SQ Zama, Dinanath Padole and city Congress president Jaiprakash Gupta also joined the agitation.
Raut said he would not hesitate to resign from his post for the cause of the movement if the situation so demanded.
Muttemwar, a seven-time Congress member of Parliament, said there is no alternative to a separate state for the overall development of the backward Vidarbha region.
“Neighbouring Chhattisgarh was more backward than Vidarbha before it became a state. But look how it has developed after becoming a separate state,” he said.
Muttemwar had earlier met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue and wrote a letter in support of the demand to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
Meghe said politicians from western Maharashtra had neglected development of the region.
“Vidarbha’s natural resources are being exploited to the hilt and there is large-scale unemployment and backwardness. It is high time we carve out the new state,” he said.
The Wardha MP added that there was a need to form a consensus among politicians from the region on the issue.
Former Lok Sabha member Jambuwantrao Dhote, who founded the Vidarbha Janta Congress Party, also participated in the demonstration and extended his support to the agitation.
President of Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh and grandson of Dalit leader B.R. Ambedkar, Prakash Ambedkar, has convened an all-party meeting here on Monday to discuss the issue and chalk out the future strategies.