M'rashtra faces Vidarbha challenge

State celebrates golden jubilee today

It was in 1950s, after the States Reorganisation Commission disregarded the claim for a separate Marathi-speaking state out of the then bilingual state of Bombay, that a movement for the creation of Maharashtra with Mumbai as its capital was launched.

The movement was spearheaded by the Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti and was led by great socialist S M Joshi, Communist leader S A Dange, Keshavrao Jedhe, well-known writer and critic Acharya Atre, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s father Prabodhankar Thackeray, Senapati Bapat and others. It was an alamgamation of socialists, leftists, rightists and centrists, and on its opposite side reigned the Congress.

The Congress of that time had pledged to introduce linguistic states prior to independence, but dramatically changed its stand after independence, perceiving linguistic states as a threat to the national unity. The catalyst to the setting up of a SRC was the fasting death of Telugu leader Potti Sriramulu to demand creation of Andhra Pradesh.

In 1956, the SRC recommended creation of linguistic states of AP, Kerala and Karnataka but favoured a bi-lingual state for Marathi- and Gujarati-speaking people. It also recommended creation of separate Vidarbha state. The SRC’s recommendations caused great political and social stir, and the Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti was formed in Pune on Feb 6, 1956.

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