Telangana triggers calls for division of Uttar Pradesh

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PM Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi with other leaders during the CWC meeting on Telangana at 10 Janpath in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI Photo
PM Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi with other leaders during the CWC meeting on Telangana at 10 Janpath in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI Photo

Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief and Union civil aviation minister Ajit Singh, who is also a Member of Parliament from Baghpat in West UP, today set the ball rolling by pressing for his long standing demand for the reorganisation of UP into four states – West UP, Porvanchal, Bundelkhand and Avadh Pradesh.

“It’s not the question of the division of UP, but reorganisation of the state which could have been the fifth largest nation state on account of its areas and population”, said the Jat leader. “It’s true that that UP has not witnessed the passionate agitation for the division of the state as seen in Telangana, but in democracy, there should be constant communication between the people and the government and this is not possible in the present UP with 75 districts and 200 million population’’, Singh added. RLD is spearheading the movement for the creation of Harit Pradesh comprising of 22 districts of Western UP.

Among the four proposed states, Bundelkhand is the most vocal region which has seen several agitations in the last four decades for the separate state of Bundelkhand comprising of seven districts falling in UP and six in Madhya Pradesh.

“Telangana has given a new lease of life to the movement for the creation of Bundelkhand. We are not fighting for anything new, our demand is only for the restoration of the Bundelkhand which existed till 1956 and abolished on the recommendation of the State Reorganisation Commission headed by KM Pannikkar”, said film star Raja Bundela who is heading the Bundelkhand Mukti Morcha. Accusing Congress of betrayal, he said, “Congress had promised to us that along with Telangana, new states of Vidarbha in Maharashtra and Bundelkhand in UP will also be created but right now it’s nowhere in the agenda of the Congress or any other party’’. He added, “We do not blame the Congress for this, the people of Telangana are politically more aware for their rights as they elected 11 MPs from Telangana Rashtra Samati in 2004 and five MPs in 2009.” Bundela said that the creation of a separate state of Bundelkhand will be a major issue in those parts of Bundelkhand which come under the state of Madhya Pradesh during the coming Assembly elections in the state.  “We are hopeful of political support as the BJP has always favoured small states,” said Bundela.

“So far the political establishment of the country has not taken notice of our movement for Bundelkhand since it was peaceful, now we will pursue our agenda in aggressive manner. We can paralyse the whole nation as the center point of the golden quadrilateral of the national highways lies in Jhansi’’, said Bhanu Sahay, Secretary of the state Congress. “All the major trains from Delhi to Central, West and South India pass through Jhansi and in the coming days we will certainly target the rail and road traffic to attract the attention of the nation towards our long cherished dream for the restoration of Bundelkhand’’, said Sahay.

Ganga Charan Rajput, former MP and senior leader of Bundelkhand who heads the Bundelkhand Adhikaar Sena, said, “The parched region of Bundelkhand is merely a colony of UP which has been looted by the successive governments in Lucknow. This region generates over 1,200 MW of thermal power but our share is not even 200 MW and mineral wealth worth Rs 25,000 crore is mined here but what do the people of this area get in return?’’ Pointing to the plight of the people in the region, Rajput said, “Over 40 Lakh people have migrated from the region in the last decade following the long spell of drought, resulting in reduction of Assembly constituencies from 21 to 19  after the delimitation of the Assembly and Parliament constituencies in 2008’’.

Dr Vijay Sinha, heading the Poorvanchal Rajya Sthapana Samiti in Gorakhpur, said, “The division of UP is fait accompli as such a large state with 20 crore population cannot address the concerns of an aspirational society’’.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati had placed the issue of division of UP on the center stage of politics in October  2007. Addressing the public meeting to commemorate the first death anniversary of the BSP founder Kanshi Ram, she had announced that her party favours the division of UP into four states. Mayawati had taken over as UP chief minister in May 2007.

Later in November 2011, a few months ahead of the state Assembly elections the then Uttar Pradesh CM Mayawati had introduced a resolution in the state assembly for the division of UP into four states. After the resolution was passed in the UP assembly, it was sent to the Centre but a month later, the Centre returned it to the UP government seeking clarifications and further details. However, the state government did not respond, Mayawati had commented that the Centre is trying to derail the process of the devision of UP.

The Congress has always adopted an ambivalent stand on the division of the state while the BJP has favored it. The Samajwadi Party is the lone party which has consistently opposed the division of the state. This party had also opposed the creation of a separate state of Uttarakhand. “The Samajwadi Party will oppose any move for the division of the state. The people of UP have never favoured the division of UP and there had never been any major agitations in any part of the state in last over six decades since independence,” said Rajendra Chaudhary, food and civil supplies minister and spokesman of the party. “UP has a glorious history, a stature in national politics, and the people of the state only stand to lose by the division of the state’’.

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Special Correspondent (Lucknow)

Virendra Nath Bhatt is a post graduate in Economics. Started career as journalist in 1982, by contributing for a couple of Hindi dailies of Lucknow and Bareilly and also Jansatta of Delhi. Joined the English daily `The Pioneer in 1990 and later shifted to National Herald. After one year joined as correspondent for the Onlooker Magazine published from Bombay in 1991. In 1995 again joined The Pioneer in 1995 and worked till 2007. In December joined Indian Express Luck now. In September 2011 joined Tehelka. Bhatt has extensively covered parliament and assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh since 1985 and also the Ramjanma Bhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute in Ayodhya and the movement for social justice – the social strife against the implementation of the Mandal commission report in August 1990.

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