Former Lok Sabha member Jambuwantrao Dhote and his supporters tried to disrupt a meeting of Chief Minister Ashok Chavan here on Wednesday on the issue of a separate Vidarbha state.
Chavan, after hearing them out, promised to convey their sentiments on the issue to the Congress leadership.
“I cannot make a decision on my own on this issue as I head a coalition government. The Congress and the NCP, partners in the coalition, will come up with their own stand on the issue, and this will decide the government’s stand,” he said.
Chavan, while pointing out that there was a lack of a consensus on the issue, denied allegations that certain projects meant to be based in Vidarbha had been moved out to other regions.
“There is no truth in such allegations. I pay special attention to any region that has a backlog of development projects. There is no bias toward or against any region. My responsibility as chief minister is to ensure equal development of all parts of the state,” he said.
Earlier, Dhote and his supporters threatened to surround the chief minister and disrupt a meeting he was scheduled to have with industrialists from the region at a programme hosted by the Vidarbha Industries Association (VIA).
Pro-Vidarbha activists reached the venue of the
meeting well before Chavan did, and said they would not allow him to speak unless he heard them out.
This sent the administration, including the police, and the VIA office bearers, into a tizzy, followed by hectic efforts to convince Dhote not to disrupt the meeting. Chavan spoke to Dhote as soon he reached the venue, in a meeting closed to the media.
Chavan then met the industrialists after the Dhote discussion. Later, Chavan came out to the hall where Dhote and his supporters were still seated, heard out the activists and assured them of conveying their feelings to the party leadership.
Chavan was later felicitated by the District Congress Committee and the city unit of the party on the occasion of its 125th Foundation Day, and to mark 50 years since the formation of Maharashtra state.