Friday, December 18, 2009

As old as Telangana demand, so why not a separate Vidarbha-The Times of India

As old as Telangana demand, so why not a separate Vidarbha

TNN 18 December 2009,

NEW DELHI: With Telangana being the flavour of Lok Sabha this week, veteran Congress MP Dutta Meghe added another colour to proceedings by raising the demand for Vidarbha statehood.

The could hardly be heard in the din, but he stood up and did his bit and later said that some leaders like Raj Thackeray had spoken of a referendum and the proposal should be accepted. "I am sure 80% of the people will vote for statehood," he told TOI outside the House.

The lone MP could hardly make himself heard above the noise being drummed up by TDP and Congress MPs as well as those from Samajwadi Party and RJD who were protesting the tabling of a standing committee report on women's reservations. But he confirmed he had stood up for the Vidarbha demand.

"If the Telangana demand has been considered by our high command, the statehood plea for Vidarbha is also pending. It is a much easier claim to settle even though it is as old as the demand for statehood for Telangana. There have been agitations just as there have been for Telangana," Meghe said.

The MP pointed out that there were no contentious points like Hyderabad to be settled in the case of Vidarbha as Nagpur was the "natural" capital on which Maharashtra should not have any claims. There was a tradition of the orange city hosting the winter session and also had an Assembly building. "People should know that Vidarbha was part of central provinces and Berar, the amalgamation into Maharashtra was a result of the political situation at the time of Independence," the MP said.

Meghe joins Nagpur MP Vilas Muttemwar who has already written on the issue of statehood for Vidarbha to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Muttemwar has said it was his duty to convey the sentiments of the people to the PM and had done so. He pointed out that the challenge held out by leaders like Raj Thackeray would be fully answered by the people of the region. This was clear in the manner in which the people had rallied to the statehood cry.

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