Encouraged by the response to the BJP’s public awareness campaign in favour of a separate Vidarbha, the Vidarbha Rajya Sangram Samiti, the umbrella body of pro-Vidarbha organisations, has called for a ‘jail bharo’ agitation on March 23 to press the statehood demand.
Former Lok Sabha MP Prakash Ambedkar, one of the members of the Samiti, said its activists would launch a ‘jail bharo’ agitation in all villages, cities and district headquarters in the region. “Members of the ruling Congress and Nationalist Congress Party will also participate in the stir,” he claimed.
The decision was taken here at a meeting attended by Nagpur MP Vilas Muttemwar, Datta Meghe (both Congress), Jambuwantrao Dhote, Ranjit Deshmukh, Jogendra Kawade and Nanabhau Embadwar.
Earlier, the BJP showed its strength in Nagpur on Sunday by organising a huge rally to push for a separate Vidarbha.
Two chief ministers — Raman Singh of Chhattisgarh and Ramesh Pokhriyal of Uttarakhand — and deputy chief minister of Jharkhand Raghubar Das attended the rally.
BJP president Nitin Gadkari said at the rally that his party would insist on amending the bill on Telangana if it came to Parliament and including Vidarbha in it for consideration.
Reiterating the BJP’s “commitment” to statehood, Gadkari said the party would extend support if Congress tabled a resolution for a separate Vidarbha in Lok Sabha or the Assembly.
He added that the people of Vidarbha, which was lagging behind other regions on all fronts, wanted development and stressed that the region’s growth must be on top of the agenda for all parties.
Without naming the Shiv Sena, which is opposed to the division of Maharashtra, BJP leader Gopinath Munde said if there were a few states with a Hindi-speaking population, there was no reason why there should not be one more Marathi speaking state. “People should not oppose another Marathi state. It would only help Marathi people to lobby in Delhi for development,” he further said.
Raman Singh, Ramesh Pokhriyal and Raghubar Das stressed that smaller states were easy to administer.