Bundelkhand: A parched land caught in electoral politics | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Bundelkhand: A parched land caught in electoral politics

May 15, 2024 09:26 AM IST

There is a section that supports the idea of trifurcating Uttar Pradesh into Poorvanchal, Bundelkhand and Harit Pradesh

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati has reiterated her demand for a separate state of Bundelkhand. The sensitive issue, which saw large scale protests in the past, could force the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress to weigh in and state their stance on dividing the state that sends the highest number of lawmakers to Parliament.

One of most water-deprived, drought prone areas of the country, Bundlekhand is spread over seven districts in Uttar Pradesh and eight districts in Madhya Pradesh. (Vipin Kumar/HT File Photo)
One of most water-deprived, drought prone areas of the country, Bundlekhand is spread over seven districts in Uttar Pradesh and eight districts in Madhya Pradesh. (Vipin Kumar/HT File Photo)

Although the BJP has in the past favoured carving out smaller states for administrative ease and better governance, in the past 10 years, the party has largely been silent on this matter. The exception was the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories after the Parliament gave its nod to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019.

Unlock exclusive access to the latest news on India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now! Download Now!

On Tuesday, speaking at an election rally, Mayawati said if her party is voted to power, it will carve a separate state for Bundelkhand. One of most water-deprived, drought prone areas of the country, Bundlekhand is spread over seven districts in Uttar Pradesh and eight districts in Madhya Pradesh.

The BJP has not commented on the issue of dividing UP, where elections are underway with three phases pending. A stray remark last year by BJP lawmaker from Muzzafarnagar, Sanjeev Balyan, of carving out western UP as a separate state raised eyebrows but did not gather political mileage.

BJP allies, such as the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), pitch for the western part to be redesignated as Harit Pradesh, while the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) has voiced support for a state of Poorvanchal.

A few party leaders admit that there is a section that supports the idea of trifurcating the state into Poorvanchal, Bundelkhand and Harit Pradesh.

A senior leader explained that the demography of the state in addition to its population bolsters the case for the state’s division. But the pitfalls, he said, would be creating divisions of caste and faith that would bring its own set of challenges. For instance, western UP is dominated by Jats and Muslims, and redrawing boundaries may not be politically expedient.

The BJP, however, does take credit for the formation of three new states — Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand — in 2000 when former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was in power.

While Chhattisgarh was carved out of Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand was part of Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand was taken out of Bihar. The party also presents the formation of these states as an example of carrying out the process without violence and presents it as a contrast to the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, which was marked by protests and bitterness.

Tell us what your First Vote will stand for in a short video & get a chance to be featured on HT’s social media handles. Click here to know more!

Get Current Updates on India News, Elections 2024, Lok Sabha Election 2024 Live, Election 2024 Date, Weather Today along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    author-default-90x90

    Smriti covers an intersection of politics and governance. Having spent over a decade in journalism, she combines old fashioned leg work with modern story telling tools.

SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, May 25, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On