Group to intensify demand that Maharashtra’s Vidarbha become a separate state, Gadkari resign
Mumbai city news: Members also called for the resignation of Union minister of state for home Hansraj Ahirmumbai Updated: Jun 28, 2017 19:17 IST
The Vidarbha Rajya Sangharsha Samiti will launch an aggressive movement to demand that Vidarbha — the eastern region of Maharashtra — be made a separate state. From August 9, the group plans to demand that Union minister Nitin Gadkari and other Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs resign for failing to fulfil their election promises regarding this issue.
At a meeting chaired by former deputy speaker of the Maharashtra state Assembly, Moreshwar Temurde, the samiti decided to stage demonstrations in front of Gadkari’s house. Former legislator Wamanrao Chatap, Shetkari Sanghatana leader Ram Neole, noted economist Dr Srinivas Khandewale and former director general of police Prabir Chakraborty attended the meeting.
- The demand that Vidarbha be made a separate state is an old one. It cropped up much before the demand for a separate Telangana. It was first raised in the 1930s. On October 1, 1938, the then central province legislature passed a unanimous resolution to set up a Maha-Vidarbha state, comprising Vidarbha and its neighbouring districts of Chhindwada, Balaghat, Seoni and Betul, which is now in Madhya Pradesh.
- When the leaders of united Maharashtra argued for a single Marathi-speaking state, the Fazal Ali commission of state reorganisation commission recommended a separate Vidarbha.
- However, it was merged with Maharashtra in 1960 after an agreement with the leaders of western Maharashtra and Vidarbha, known as “Nagpur Pact.”
Members also called for the resignation of Union minister of state for home Hansraj Ahir, saying he ignored their demands after coming to power in 2014. The BJP-Sena alliance won all the 10 Lok Sabha seats from the region, with the BJP winning six and the Shiv Sena, four.
During the state elections, the BJP won the most seats — 44 of 62 — in Vidarbha, by promising to make it a separate state. Gadkari and other BJP leaders had submitted a written undertaking of this promise, said the samiti.
Gadkari and many BJP members had said Vidarbha would only experience growth if it was a separate state. However, they have now said that they will work to develop this backward region, which should stay a part of Maharashtra.
Dr Khandewale, a core-committee member of the samiti, said the organisation would stage protests outside the homes of BJP MPs on August 9, which is celebrated as Kranti Din.
Earlier, former advocate general of Maharashtra, Shrihari Aney, had asked the Centre to hold a referendum on the issue of a separate statehood for Vidarbha. He had said that if 51% voted in favour of a separate state, the Centre must accept their demands.
State BJP spokesperson Shweta Shalini said her party was in favour of smaller states, however, a separate Vidarbha was not now on its immediate agenda. Speaking to reporters at Buldhana, she said the BJP was focusing on development in Maharashtra and would not press for a separate Vidarbha.