Lok Sabha 2014: How Congress Is Trying To Woo Mayawati?

Interestingly, Congress had lashed out at Mayawati when she had pitched for division of Uttar Pradesh last year calling it a poll gimmick.

Encouraged by the success of his government in bifurcating Andhra Pradesh and carving out Telangana, union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh is now riding a high horse. He has now raised his voice for splitting Uttar Pradesh, a demand often voiced by Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party and Bhartiya Janata Party.

“This is my personal opinion for the last 15 years that good governance is not possible in Uttar Pradesh. Good governance is very difficult in today’s Uttar Pradesh. We should ponder over the future of Uttar Pradesh,” Ramesh, who played a significant role in the division of Andhra Pradesh, reportedly said.

His remarks come riding on the fact that Mayawati supported a section of the Congress party is batting for an alliance with BSP in UP in the Lok Sabha polls.

In November, 2011, then Mayawati government had adopted a resolution in the state Assembly supporting division of the state into Bundelkhand, Pashchim Pradesh, Purvanchal and Paschim Pradesh. The former UP chief minister had also suggested setting up of state reorganisation commission to look into the demand for creation of new states.

Welcoming the creation of Telangana, Mayawati had pitched for division of Uttar Pradesh last year too saying that the BSP “has always supported smaller states”. Interestingly, Congress had lashed out at Mayawati that time saying that it was a poll gimmick.

Meanwhile, BJP has announced that a separate Vidarbha state would be part of the NDA’s ‘common minimum programme’. The people of Vidarbha in Maharashtra have been agitating for a separate state for decades, a demand that the Congress-NCP alliance government in Maharashtra has been undecided about. The demand is to carve out about 11 districts of eastern Maharashtra, including that of Nagpur, into a state of Vidarbha.

BJP had always been in support of smaller states. It had also demanded setting up of second state reorganization commission to look into statehood demands in the country. Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh and Uttarakhand were formed during NDA regime only. Due to opposition of its alliance, Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP, the idea of bifurcating Andhra and forming Telangana was dropped. Nonetheless, BJP extended its full support to the UPA government when it was facing difficulty in passing the T-Bill.

However, ruling Samajwadi Pary is opposed to the division of states, saying that such administrative units are prone to problems due to lack of resources.

It will be no wonder if demands of statehood from parts of the country arise at this time. Any indication that the Congress could offer a proposed splitting up of Uttar Pradesh in the run-up to the Lok Sabha election will be enough to fuel them.

Others who have been demanding statehood include the Gorkhas (the area around Darjeeling be declared Gorkhaland, they demand) based on the ethno-linguistic rights of the local people, Greater Cooch Behar (in northern West Bengal) and Bundelkhand, an agitation led by the Bundelkhand Mukti Morcha, for areas including some parts of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Voices for Bodoland (Assam-Arunachal Pradesh), Harit Pradesh (UP) and Maithil Pradesh (Bihar) have also been raised.

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