Other statehood cries get louder

Congress unlikely to relent for political gain

Other statehood cries get louder

The Centre’s decision to carve Telangana out of Andhra Pradesh has sparked off similar demands in other states. But the Congress is unlikely to relent as political gains are not as rewarding in the immediate electoral battle.

Though the Congress said the demand for Telangana cannot be compared with others, senior party leader Vilas Muttemwar pressed for creation of Vidarbha state out of Maharashtra in a letter to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Monday. He claimed that this demand was “older and stronger.”

“Now, when the Telangana state has been agreed to be carved out of Andhra Pradesh, the people of Vidarbha will have genuine resentment if their similar demand for creation of a separate Vidarbha state is not simultaneously agreed to,” the seven time Lok Sabha MP from Nagpur wrote.

Issuing a veiled threat, Muttemwar said if the demands of the people of Vidarbha are rejected, “they will grievously and genuinely feel badly neglected and may resort to violent agitations.”

Union Minister and Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh also joined the chorus for creating a “Harit Pradesh” constituting the western part of Uttar Pradesh, which is also his pocket borough. Similarly, Gorkhaland and Bodoland protagonists threatened to intensify their agitations.

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung openly said: “Our demand for Gorkhaland is older than the demand for Telangana. If the Centre announces a Telangana state, then it should also declare a Gorkhaland state.”

However, the Congress is not committing to the fresh demands. On being asked whether the UPA will consider demands of creating more states, Digvijay Singh said: “Do not compare Telangana with other demands because it has a long history. The issue was discussed in the first state reorganisation committee.”

The Congress, however, will like to see how these demands play out, as the UPA-II’s term is coming to an end, with elections due in 2014. The Congress claimed that it was a hard decision to arrive at, given the fact that the party had to sidestep voices from Seemandhra which has given them 19 MPs.

The Congress sources said it will be easier to handle the uprising in Andhra Pradesh, which has a Congress government. To give Gorkhaland, the Congress will have to enter into a dialogue with the Trinamool Congress-ruled West Bengal government. Similarly, it has to hold talks with the Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh for “Harit Pradesh.”

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah opposed the idea of carving out states based on the people’s agitations. “It is fine that you have to create Telangana but don’t do it piecemeal. Telangana will be created on the basis of agitations. This way the agitations are being incentivised,” he said in Srinagar.

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