The Opposition asserted in the state assembly on Tuesday that there was no alternative other than giving separate statehood to the backward Vidarbha region for its overall development. The opposition parties alleged that the region been neglected by the ruling party politicians from western Maharashtra.
All speakers from the Opposition made it clear that Vidarbha should get priority in distribution of funds so that the imbalance in development was set right. The highlight, however, was a strong point made by the senior BJP member Devendra Fadnavis.
“We have heard all these views several times. But, it is a fact that in most of the over four decades of its rule in the state, the Congress-led governments have not shown seriousness on ground to erase the developmental backlog. Year after year, all we get is assurances even though the backlog continues to pile up. So much so that today, Maharashtra will have to spend Rs1 lakh crore to completely develop Vidarbha on par with the more developed region of western Maharashtra,” said Fadnavis.
According to the BJP legislator, time had come for the state to take a final decision on the Vidarbha issue. “If it is unable to raise that kind of money for Vidarbha, it should at least clear the way for a split of Maharashtra and create a separate Vidarbha state,” added Fadnavis. “Vidarbha is capable of generating resources worth Rs26,000 crore for its budget if a new state is created. The region has lost all hope of getting justice while remaining a part of unified Maharashtra.”
However, as expected Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) legislator Bala Nandgaonkar opposed Fadnavis’s views. But, Nandgaonkar supported the motion for speedy development of Vidarbha and removal of the irrigation backlog on priority.
Among legislators from the region, Nana Patole (BJP), Vijayraj Shinde (Shiv Sena) and Anandrao Gedam (Congress) made a fervent plea for a sincere approach towards completion of irrigation projects that were languishing for years for want of funds.