The bridge over river Yamuna near Kalpi town is considered the gateway to Bundelkhand. The divide is clear as one enters from the fertile plains to the hilly terrain. The election issues also changes as huge hoarding on the side of the highway hits the passerby- if you stand for separate Bundelkhand state vote for Bundelkhand Congress.
“First time a political party is contesting assembly election on separate statehood issue” said Mohammad Muqim who runs a provision store near the old tomb. “The Bundelas yearn for separate state but the issue is buried in our heart and yet to mobilize the masses”, said Dileep Singh Senger owner of the medical store. “ The saga of Bundelkhand has been charging the people living between Vindhyan range and Gangetic plains since ages”, said Bhanu Pratap a member of the zila panchayat and adds “separate Bundelkhand state is slowly becoming an emotional issue”.
As the highway meanders through the fields and moves toward the Jhansi the separate statehood issue starts melting. “Though a political party is contesting election on separate Bundelkhand issue but the major political party including Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) that got the resolution passed on the floor of Vidhan sabha buried it for the good in the assembly election”, said Suraj Maurya a farmer.
As one enters the city the voices become more vocal and the writing on the wall is clear- separate Bundelkhand state failed to become an issue in the assembly election in the heartland of the Bundelkhand.
The office bearer of the district Indian Medical Association (IMA), Dr Atul Atul Pratap Singh said, “the separate issue is more an emotional issue rather than the election issue. The people have no faith on the elected representatives as they have played with the sentiments of the masses. Rather the message of Anna has awakened us- more leaders means more corruption. The issue of Bundelkhand has not hit the grass root and remained limited to discussion among the intellectual class.
Sanjay Patwari leader of the traders association blames the organizations politicking on separate state for failing the aspirations of the people. “The people residing in the far flung area of the state remained untouched with the issue”, he said. The farmer leader Gauri Shankar Bidwa said “the fight for Bundelkhand has turned into a selfish issue for the political leaders. Riding on the issue the candidates became MLA, MP and minister. But they did little for the region or its people. The leaders know that they would not get vote on separate state issue”.
The president of Bundelkhand Congress Raja Bundela who is contesting from Jhansi Sadar is busy chalking out the strategy with the supporters in the party office located on station road. “I have prepared the ground for the separate state and sown the seed” Bundela said and added “all political parties speak of Bundelkhand state on dais but forgets the issue once they get under the umbrella of the respective political party. Now the political parties are trying to suppress the issue whereas we have decided to go all out for the separate state”.
Jitendra Tiwari who runs Jan kalyan Samiti is not amused at all.
“Hundreds of farmers died and thousands migrated when drought hit the area for consecutive seven years. Over 18 lakh farmers left the agriculture practice and became daily wage labourers in Delhi, Mumbai and Punjab but majority of the political leaders remained a mute spectator to ours plight. The leaders are aware that they cannot take the people for ride on separate state issue in the assembly election”, he said.
“Rather than separate state the people of Bundelkhand are more concerned for bread”, said Gopal Patel the gram pradhan of Mathuwa village and added “with doing politics on dead bodies the leaders of all political parties have made mockery of separate state issue”.
Suresh Saraswat a student of Bundelkhand university said “though separate state failed to become an issue in the election yet we have not lost the hope as the students and youths are willing to fight for the separate state. We are awaiting the leadership that takes the movement for separate state to right conclusion”.