Agitation for a separate Vidarbha state is gaining momentum, with Vidarbha Rajya Sangram Samiti, an umbrella body of pro-Vidarbha organisations, giving a call for jail bharo protest on March 23.
Former Lok Sabha member Prakash Ambedkar, who is also one of the members of the Samiti, said that pro-Vidarbha activists would launch ‘jail bharo’ agitation in all villages, cities and district headquarters in the region. “The members of the ruling Congress and Nationalist Congress Party would also participate in the agitation,” 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 in support of the separate Vidarbha state in the presence of two chief ministers of Chhattisgarh and Uttarkhand and deputy chief minister of Jharkhand.
Speaking on the occasion, BJP president Nitin Gadkari said his party would insist for amending the bill on Telangana state to include Vidarbha if it comes to the Parliament for consideration.
Reiterating the BJP’s commitment to the Vidarbha cause, Gadkari said his party would extend full support if Congress tabled the resolution for separate Vidarbha in the Lok Sabha or in the state Assembly.
He criticised the government for not taking cognisance of the Vidarbha issue. Claiming that Congress MPs and MLAs too want separate Vidarbha, he came up with a suggestion that the Congress should conduct their voting on the issue.
People of Vidarbha, which was lagging behind on all fronts for the last 50 years, are now craving for development, he said. And now, Vidarbha’s development must be topmost on the agenda of all parties.
The deputy opposition leader in Lok Sabha, Gopinath Munde said that he would raise the separate Vidarbha issue in the Lok Sabha soon and ensure a debate. He said that his party would not allow the Manmohan Singh government to move the bill for creating Telangana alone and would ensure that the government includes separate Vidarbha also.
Without naming Shiv Sena for opposing division of the Marathi-speaking state, Munde said that if there were more states of Hindi speaking people, why there should not be one more Marathi speaking state. “People should not oppose another Marathi state. Instead, it would help the Marathi people for lobbying in Delhi for their benefits,” he further said.
The chief ministers of Chhattisgarh, Raman Singh, Ramesh Pokhriyal of Uttarkhand and the deputy chief minister of newly set up Jharkahnd state, Raghubar Das also spoke on the occasion and asserted that smaller states were easy to administer and led to better development.