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Nod for Telanagana strengthens voices for Gorkhaland,Vidarbha and Bundelkhand

Telangana has become the basis of arguments for the creation of more states in India.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
August 1, 2013 4:30:55 pm

Telangana is slated to be the 29th state of India. The region,which is considered backward,comprises 10 districts with plenty of water and some other natural resources. The issue that has been at the heart of the demand for separate statehood for Telangana is lack of development.

Creation of new states will weaken the country: Anna Hazare

As and when the state is formed,the jewel in the crown will always be the city of Hyderabad,which may for some time,at least 10 years,will be the joint capital.

With a population of over 3.5 crore,the new state comprising mostly the areas of the princely Nizam state will have 17 Lok Sabha seats and 119 Assembly seats.

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With the new state,people of the region hope that the new identity will help them overcome the challenges of poverty and backwardness which were at the roots of the separate state movement.

Following the UPA government and the Congress Working Committee’s approval to the creation of Telangana,people from different regions of the country have also started voicing their concerns over their demand for a separate state.

The states that want to be bifurcated are Gorkhaland,Vidarbha,Bodoland and Harit Pradesh. Here’s a look at the demands and the regions.

Gorkhaland

Gorkhaland is a proposed state demanded by some Gorkha people of Darjeeling hills and the people of Gorkha ethnic origin in Dooars in northern West Bengal. The demand for a separate Gorkhaland state has been there since 1907.

The Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL) was the first political party from the region which had demanded a separate state for the identity of the Gorkha ethnic people and also financial freedom for the group. The people of the region have been supporting their leaders in the formation of a new state but the government has not payed much heed to their demand.

On June 9,the pro-Gorkhaland Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) threatened to launch a protest campaign.

The GJM wants 398 additional mouzas (a group of villages) spread over Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts to be included in the GTA.

The GTA is the new Hill Council that would run the administration in Darjeeling. It is armed with more powers than its predecessor,Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC).

GJM general secretary Roshan Giri announced indefinite bandh in Darjeeling Hills from Saturday to press for a separate Gorkhaland state but West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee firmly ruled out division of the state.

“If there can be a Telangana state then why not a Gorkhaland? We are demanding that out 107 year-old legitimate demand (of a separate state) be fulfilled,” GJM general secretary and spokesman Roshan Giri told newsmen after a party core committee meeting in Darjeeling. The three-day GJM bandh ended today.

Mamata on her part said,”Darjeeling is part and parcel of West Bengal. There is no question of division of West Bengal. We are united,we will be united and we will be together.”

Attacking the Congress on the Telangana issue,West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said it smacked off “divisive politics”.

“I am not averse to Telangana,it is their prerogative. But what if other states start making similar demands? Will the Congress allow all these demands and break the country into pieces? It is most unfortunate for the country when those who have responsibility behave irresponsibly,” Banerjee said.

“Why has this decision been taken at a time when the general elections are approaching? The Congress,in its manifesto five years back,had committed Telangana formation,but why has this decision been taken now when the elections are knocking on the doors? Simply because it will add a few more seats?” she said.

“I condemn this attitude and am shocked at the decision. For political purpose and vendetta,our constitutional obligations should not be jeopardised.”

“A few central ministers,I am sorry to say,had called a few of the GTA leaders to Delhi…Later,the GTA leaders have reported that a few of the central leaders asked them to start a movement there promising grant of union territory status.

Vidarbha

Vidarbha is the eastern region of Maharashtra,made up of the Nagpur and the Amravati divisions. Its former name is Berar. It occupies 31.6 per cent of total area and holds 21.3 per cent of total population of Maharashtra. Vidarbha was a separate state before being merged with the newly formed Maharashtra state in 1960.

The main reason in demanding of a separate state of Vidarbha is the constant neglect of the Maharashtra state government in terms of development and improving the investment in to the region. People feel that they are different from the people of Maharashtra in terms of their dialect and the cultural inclination.

A prominent city-based NGO,Vidarbha Economic development Council (VED),has also strongly demanded carving out During the last 50 years,Maharashtra “failed to develop Vidarbha region” and,therefore,under article 371 (2) of the Constitution of India,to remove regional imbalance the Statutory Development Board was set up,VED chairman Devendra Parekh said.

The board failed to correct the imbalance,as is evident from the HR Index,per capita income table and gross district product table,published by GoM in its annual survey of state economy in 2009,it said.

Since the constitutional remedy has failed in bringing economic development in Vidarbha,making it a separate state is the only solution and the demand is more than justified,he said.

Vidarbha presently produces 4,500 MW power and another 10,000 MW is in the pipeline. The surplus power can be converted into a multi-crore advantage since the region’s own consumption is 2,000 MW,Parekh said.

Situated in central India and eastern region of Maharashtra state,Vidarbha consists of 11 districts,including Nagpur,Amravati,Akola,Wardha,Chandrapur,Gadchiroli,Gondia and Bhandara,Buldhana and Yavatmal.

The region’s largest city Nagpur is famous for orange and cotton cultivation.

Vidarbha holds two-thirds of Maharashtra’s mineral resources,three quarters of its forest resources,and is a net producer of power.

Though rich in minerals,coal,forests and mountains,this region has been underdeveloped and has seen a spurt in suicides by thousands of farmers.

Congress derives significant strength from this region,with its local leaders pushing for the demand — former MP Vilas Muttemwar has written to party president Sonia Gandhi,and ministers like Nitin Raut have openly supported Vidarbha statehood — but the party’s stand is deliberately cautious.

“The stance of the Maharashtra unit on Vidarbha cannot be separate from that of the Centre. Whatever sentiments are being expressed by Congress leaders are personal views,and not that of the party,” said state Congress chief Manikrao Thakre.

The main reason for this guarded approach is that it is not politically expeditious for the party to have separate state. “If the Congress has to retain power in the state,they need Vidarbha in it. If Vidarbha is separated,the NCP can rule the roost and the Sena can become more powerful. In a pre-election year,it will whip up sentiments against the Congress across the state,” said an NCP minister.

The NCP reiterated support for separate statehood on Wednesday. “NCP fully supports Vidarbha if people are keen to have it….If people want,we will support it,” said party vice president and Union minister Praful Patel.

The BJP,too,is pro-Vidarbha,with state party president Devendra Fadnavis saying the demand is pending for 40 years.

Harit Pradesh

Harit Pradesh is a proposed new state of India comprising the western parts of Uttar Pradesh. Braj Pradesh and Pashchim Pradesh are alternative names that have been proposed,because the region incorporates the historic region of Braj and is the western part of Uttar Pradesh respectively. Braj Pradesh,however,is a term that has historically been used for parts of the proposed state’s territory as well as some adjoining regions of Rajasthan state.

Uttar Pradesh is one of the largest state in India. There is considerable difference between the eastern and western part of the state. People from western region feel that they contribute more to the development of the state as a whole. This is the one of the reason for the separation demand of the state into Harit Pradesh. Moreover,there is linguistic difference between the people from the same state. A separate state would guarantee them the political and economical independence which has been missing for quite some time now.

Bundelkhand

With the clamor for splitting Uttar Pradesh into smaller administrative units growing louder,All India Congress Committee general secretary Madhusudan Mistry had said that he had apprised party president Sonia Gandhi,in the Telangana context,about the demand for a separate Bundelkhand state. The comments,he clarified,were not made during the meeting of the Congress Working Committee,but separately.

In November 2011,the UP assembly had passed a resolution for creation of Bundelkhand but the MP government rejected the demand outright.

The earliest demands for a separate Bundelkhand can be traced back to an agreement with the government of India and 35 erstwhile ruling states of Bundelkhand in 1949.

Bodoland

For the North-Eastern state of Assam,which sits on a tinderbox full of sub-nationalistic aspirations,and a state that has been a witness to many secessionist movements in the past,Telengana precedent might put the state on boil.

From rallies to bandhs,rail-blockade to economic blockade,Assam is set to witness all in coming days as Bodo organisations and Koch-Rajbongshi organisations have announced them as part of their plan of action to press for their statehood demands.

The Bodoland People’s Front (BPF),the ruling party of the autonomous Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC),has taken a resolution too to revive the separate Bodoland-state demand in the wake of the Centre’s promise to create separate state of Telangana.

Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) chief and Bodoland Peoples Front(BPF) president Hagrama Mohilary said BPF would organise a mass rally in Kokrajhar on August 4 to put pressure on the government on Bodoland.

All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) announced a series of agitational programmes from tomorrow in protest against the Centre’s alleged discrimination against Bodos and its failure to fulfill the genuine aspirations of the indigenous people.

It has called a 12-hour railway blockade on August 2 followed by a 60-hour Assam bandh from 5 am on August 5 and a 1,000-hour economic blockade if the situation compels,its president Promode Boro said.

ABSU and the Peoples Joint Action Committee for Bodoland Movement (a conglomerate of 55 organisations) have been raising the statehood demand for many years.

Karbi Anglong

As Telangana statehood creates ripple effect,the demand for a separate Karbi Anglong state in Assam turned violent and three outfits chalked out agitation plans for separate states in the eastern region.

With the Congress and UPA giving its nod for carving out Telangana state from Andhra Pradesh,former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and BSP supremo Mayawati renewed her demand for further splitting the country’s most populous state into four parts.

She has proposed splitting UP into Purvanchal,Bundelkhand,Awadh Pradesh and Pashchimanchal. The hill state of Uttarakhand was carved out of UP in 2000.

Demanding that a separate Karbi Anglong be carved out of Assam along the lines of Telangana,agitators belonging to several organisations gheraoed the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council in Diphu and locked its main gate,official sources said.

They threw stones at the houses of Congress MP Birensing Ingti,MLA Bidyasing Engleng,Council’s chief executive member Joyram Engleng and its executive member Tuliram Ronghang and damaged their property.

The agitators,who belonged to Karbi Students Association,Karbi Riso Adorba and other organisations,even broke the gate of Engleng’s residence and damaged the cars parked in the compound,the sources said.

This prompted the police to fire several rounds in the air near the house but no injury to any person was reported.

At Ronghang’s residence,tractors and cars parked there were set ablaze by the agitators,the sources said.

The leaders of the various organisations said the demand was made as far back as in 1951 and have threatened to continue their stir if no action was immediately taken by the Centre.

All Koch Rajbongshi Students Union (Biswajit Roy faction) has called a 36-hour Assam from 5 am tomorrow to press for a separate Kamtapur state carved out of Assam and West Bengal.

If the demand was not conceded the union has threatened a fast-unto-death after August 15.

In the north,a Congress MP batted for the formation of Poorvanchal to be carved out of eastern UP.

Jagdambika Pal,MP from Domariyaganj in eastern UP,said he would approach Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to demand creation of Poorvanchal. Union Minister Ajit Singh’s RLD is pushing hard for creating Harit Pradesh from western UP,his home turf.

“The Telengana statehood is an inspiration for us,” said Ajit Singh’s son and Lok Sabha MP Jayant Chaudhary.

BJP vice president Uma Bharti said Centre should form a States Reorganisation Commission to look into demands for new states and give top priority to carving out Bundelkhand.

With fresh demands being made for carving a separate state of Vidarbha out of Maharashtra,Union Minister and NCP leader Praful Patel said,”if the people of Vidarbha want a separate state NCP will be supportive of it.”

Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar said his party is supportive of creating smaller states.

“Increase in the number of smaller states will not be a problem,it will only help in better governance,” Nitish said.

With PTI inputs

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