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UP split spells pains and gains for parties

Barring Bundelkhand, all will be economically viable, reports Sunita Aron.

lucknow Updated: Nov 21, 2011 01:57 IST
Sunita Aron
Sunita Aron
Hindustan Times

When Congress veteran ND Tiwari was made chief minister of newly created Uttarakhand (then Uttaranchal) in 2002, he had told some of his friends, “The (former) chief minister of Uttar Pradesh has been reduced to a chief minister of two divisions.”

The undivided UP that he had administered thrice (once in the 1970s and twice in the 1980s) as CM had 18 divisions, including two in the hills.

Thus, what could be chief minister Mayawati’s gain in dividing UP? If the state is divided in accordance with her plan, her huge empire today will be reduced to tiny states, and some of them will have to depend on the central government for aid.

While the division will make it easy for the BSP to remain a national party, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s task to get the same status for the Samajwadi Party will also become a reality.

A political party must secure 8% of the valid votes polled (it was 6% earlier) in at least four states separately in a Lok Sabha election, or the latest legislative assembly polls in four states. In addition, the party should return four members to the Lok Sabha or 2% of the Lok Sabha seats from any three states.

AK Singh, director of the Giri Institute of Development Studies, said while the eastern part would get 40% of the state’s population, 37% would go to the west, 18% to Awadh and 5% to Bundelkhand.

And all will be economically viable barring Bundelkhand, for which areas from the adjoining state of Madhya Pradesh will have to be merged to make it a larger state. Experts also feel the process of correcting regional imbalances will be accelerated.

The western part is the most developed region of the state. Agriculture productivity is higher. Half of the state’s industries are located here.

Central UP falls in the middle category in terms of development. It was industrially more developed with Kanpur as a major textile centre in northern India. However, the region has witnessed industrial decline in recent years.

The two other regions — East UP and Bundelkhand — have been officially designated backward. There is heavy dependence on land in the densely populated eastern region, marked by a low level of diversification, low productivity and low per capita income. Most of the poor are concentrated in this region.

And, there is no doubt that while the BSP will garner major support in Bundelkhand and East UP, SP is bound to do better in West UP. The BJP has been winning seats in East and Central and the Congress has pockets of influence in all the four corners.

But the public in general feels that though Mayawati is laying the foundation for dividing UP, it may not become a reality so soon.

First Published: Nov 20, 2011 23:48 IST