Two-day stir for separate Vidarbha state begins
Indo Asian News ServiceSun, Jan 3 06:46 PM
Nagpur, Jan 3 (IANS) Several political groups and social organisations Sunday started a two-day sit-in agitation here to press the demand for a separate Vidarbha state.
The initiative has been taken by Congress MP Vilas Muttemwar who led around 2000 people at the peaceful sit-in (dharna) before a statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Variety Square in the heart of the city.
The agitators have demanded that along with the recently-approved proposal for a Telangana state, the central government should also 'favourably' consider the 50-year-old demand for a separate Vidarbha state.
This, they said, would save the region - worst-hit by a spate of farmland suicides in the past decade - from 'dying'.
Among the prominent groups which have joined the two-day stir is Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) which appealed to all political parties to support the demand for a separate state.
'Congress president Sonia Gandhi should consider the apathy shown to the people of this region in the past 50 years, which now has slid to among the most backward regions in the country though it falls in the most advanced state of India,' VJAS chief Kishor Tiwari said.
In a letter to the Congress president last week, Muttemwar said that even the erstwhile British rulers recommended a separate Vidarbha way back in 1888, followed by the State Reorganisation Commission of 1955, and then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1988.
In 1996, a delegation of senior leaders like Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Meira Kumar, K. Karunakaran, Rajesh Pilot, Balram Jakhar, Mukul Wasnik, Vasant Sathe, N.K.P. Salve, Sudhakarrao Naik and Muttemwar had met the then Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda demanding the formation of a separate Vidarbha as envisaged by the States Reorganisation Commission.
Tiwari said that more people are expected to join the stir on its second day Monday) and the voice of the people demanding a separate Vidarbha 'would echo till the national capital'.