In an effort to boost the demand to separate Vidarbha from Maharashtra, senior BJP leaders led by state chief Devendra Fadnavis left for Delhi to meet top party functionaries to push forward the agenda of creating another state.
The team, including former state chief Sudhir Munganttiwar, Nana Patole, Sudhakar Deshmukh and former Lok Sabha member Banwarilal Purohit, will meet Sushma Swaraj, leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha, Arun Jaitley, leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, and party president Rajnath Singh, among others.
Party sources said the delegation will urge BJP’s central leadership to push the government to club the Vidarbha statehood issue with that of Telangana when a bill on the latter is introduced during the ongoing winter session of Parliament.
“The issue of a separate Vidarbha is older than that of Telangana. The State Reorganisation Commission in the 1950s had recommended this, so the government should consider it while drafting a bill for the creation of a separate Telangana,” said Fadnavis.
He added that the BJP had, in its national executive committee in Bhubaneswar, passed a resolution supporting the creation of Vidarbha.
Former BJP president Nitin Gadkari supported the demand and urged the central leadership to consider it: “The peoples’ representatives of the Congress from the region should raise the issue in the interest of the backward region and its people. If the Congress introduces a bill in this regard, the BJP will support it.”
Meanwhile, pro-Vidarbha activists staged a day-long dharna at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on Monday.
The separate Vidarbha issue was first raised in 1930s and on October 1, 1938, the then Central Province legislature passed a unanimous resolution to set up a Maha-Vidarbha state.