A new party, the Bundelkhand Congress has come up in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the 2012 Assembly elections. The Bollywood artiste Raja Bundela who also is the president of Bundelkhand Mukti Morcha (BMM) has launched the party that would contest all the 27 Assembly constituencies in the region and ten adjacent constituencies that are topographically similar to Bundelkhand.
“Separate statehood for the region is our election manifesto. And for us it is more of a referendum offer to people of the region than an Assembly election,” said Raja Bundela the president of the Bundelkhand Congress here in Lucknow on Saturday.
Bundela said that the party was born out of the statehood demand and the utter neglect of the region. None of the parties cared about the region that has been witnessing farm suicides almost every day for years.
“We will ask people to vote for separate, development, rich and powerful Bundelkhand that would one day have its own chief minister, its own DMs, SSPs,” said Bundela while announcing the party.
Bundelkhand Congress would not engage in any kind of pre-poll pact with any of the parties so far as Bundelkhand region was concerned, but says it is open to cooperate with others outside.
“Election Commission has registered us. We have registered ourselves as a national party. We will contest all the Bundelkhand seats in Uttar Pradesh and more seats in the areas that are geographically part of the region—like Kaushambhi, Kanpur Dehat, Fatehpur and some part of Agra,” said Raja Bundela the president of the Bundelkhand Congress here in Lucknow on Saturday.
Bundela had been with the Congress since 2004 when the Congress had asked him to contest Lalitpur-Jhansi seat. “I was trying to impress upon the Congress for separate statehood. I was the one who spurred the visits of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi to the region. He and the Congress had assured me that they support the demand. But later an MP from the region misled Rahul and now Bundelkhand statehood is nowhere in the agenda of the Congress, while I had been working for separate statehood ever since I initiated my Bundelkhand movement. I made it clear to them while quitting that I was neither going to any other party nor changing the issue. I am not going to contest elections myself,” he said.
When asked would not the smaller states divide the country, he said: “No. Smaller states would only make the country stronger. Formation of Gujarat out of Maharashtra benefitted Maharashtra, Gujarat and the country. Except Jharkhand, all the new states when high up development index—be it Uttarakhand, Haryana or Punjab or Chattisgarh. No one is asking for secession to make a separate country.”
There is so much of misbalanced development—no one cares about Bundelkhand. Now, all parties are worried about the region for their selfish political motives, and have began fighting over it now and have began promising moon to the people, while the farm suicides have never stopped there.
Party claims eleven associated aims—to ensure that no farmer ever commits suicide and farmers gets his prestige and importance back as ‘anndata’ (food provider); to make 63 % per cent of the population, that has migrated, to return to the region; better opportunities of employment to the youth within the region; and make education opportunities better in the region. “Apart from this we would promise 50 per cent of participation in every walks of life, and care for elderly,” said Bundela.
He said that the party would promise Rs 5 lakh for a girl on her birth. They should be considered girt than curse. The region’s natural resources—mines and minerals would be used in a balanced way and for the benefit of the region rather that the indiscriminate exploitation; the region has better tourism potential for tourism than that of Rajasthan, and this would not go untapped.