BJP, Cong may have forgotten but Vidarbha issue alive

Maharashtra map: The pink and green parts on the right are the Vidarbha region

The Congress and BJP may not be discussing the separate Vidarbha issue but the demand for statehood is still alive.

While in the Lok Sabha elections - it is a strong message to the political class - in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly polls later this year,  it could upset many politically.

Maharashtra's former advocate general Shreehari Aney said that people have not forgotten the demand and hence the Vidarbha Nirman MahaManch (VNM) has put up candidates in eight of the 10 Lok Sabha seats.

"It is a people's agitation,  people's demand, it cannot be conveniently bypassed," Aney told DH.

The VNM candidates are Dr Suresh Mane of Bahujan Republican Socialist Party (Nagpur),  Devidas Lanjewar of Vidarbha Rajya Andolan Samiti (Bhandara),  Chandrabhan Ramteke of Rashtriya Jansurajya Party (Ramtek),  Dashrath Madavi (Chandrapur), poet Prof Gnaneshwar Wakudkar of Lok Jagar Party (Wardha),  Narendra Katane of Rashtriya Jansurajya Party (Amravati) and Gajanan Harne of Swatantra Bharat Paksha and AAP activist. In Yavatmal-Washim,  they have backed Vaishali Yede,  the wife of a farmer who committed suicide,  who is contesting from Prahar Janshakti Paksha.

"We are taking our fight on the Telangana model...we also want to be part of the political set up," said Aney,  adding that after the Lok Sabha elections they will also put up candidates in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly elections.

The Congress and BJP,  however,  made it clear that they remain committed to Vidarbha.

The Shiv Sena's stand is against the bifurcation of the state.

"We are for smaller states,  that has been BJP's stand and we are committed to it," said union shipping minister Nitin Gadkari.

On the other hand,  senior Congressman and four-time MP Vilasrao Muttemwar said that Vidarbha is an important issue and time and again we are raising it in various fora."We are for Vidarbha state," he said, adding that he also sticks to his earlier demand of making Nagpur the capital of India.

However, Aney said that the movement cannot rely on the BJP and/or Congress. "The sentiments of people are strong," he said.

The VVM front comprises Vidarbha Rajya Aghadi led by Aney, Vidarbha Rajya Andolan Samiti led by Wamanrao Chatap, Vidarbha Maza led by Rajkumar Tirpude, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Bahujan Republic Socialist Party, Shetkari Sanghatana, Prahaar Janshakti Paksha led by MLA Bachchu Kadu, Nag Vidarbha Andolan Samiti, Rashtriya Jansurajya Party, RPI (K) and Jambuwantrao Dhote Vichar Manch.

 

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The Vidarbha region comprises of 11 districts spread over two revenue divisions of Nagpur and Amravati

The Nagpur division comprises of Nagpur, Bhandara,  Gondiya,  Gadchiroli,  Chandrapur and Wardha while the Amravati division has Amravati,  Buldhana,  Akola,  Washim and Yavatmal.

Vidarbha has 10 Lok Sabha seats - Nagpur,  Wardha,  Ramtek,  Bhandara-Gondiya,  Gadchiroli-Chimur,  Chandrapur,  Yavatmal-Washim,  Akola,  Amravati and Buldhana.

The region accounts for 10 Lok Sabha seats of the 48 in the state and 60 Maharashtra Legislative Assembly seats of the total 288.

Vidarbha region is spread over 97,321 sq km and its population is roughly 2.3 crore.

The Vidarbha region accounts for 31.6 % total area of state,  21.3 % total population.

The issues here include poverty, malnutrition,  agrarian distress, farmers' suicides, stress on natural resources 

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BJP, Cong may have forgotten but Vidarbha issue alive

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