Saturday, February 6, 2010

strong case for the creation of Vidarbha -Union Home Minister P Chidambaram

There is a strong case for the creation of Vidarbha -Union Home Minister P Chidambaram

(Indian Express on May 18, 2003)

An article written by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram seven years ago in favour of smaller states has become a hot topic of discussion in political and academic circles in the State in the context of the ongoing agitation for a separate Telangana State

And it has provided grist to the mill in both camps, champions of a separate Telangana and those opposing the division of Andhra Pradesh .
Published in the Indian Express on May 18, 2003, Chidambaram made a lucid analysis on the need for smaller states based on the findings of a study that had ranked states on different parameters. The report revealed that small states like Goa, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Haryana and Punjab easily outscored the bigger ones .

Out of government at the time, Chidambaram argued that though not all states needed to be bifurcated or trifurcated, division would be a wise solution if the demand were based on size, population and geographical characteristics
“In my view, there is a strong case for the creation of Vidarbha (out of Maharashtra) and Telangana (out of Andhra Pradesh). Uttar Pradesh and Bihar should also be further divided,” he reasoned .

Chidambaram’s argument was that though smaller states have some inherent disadvantages such as a high proportion of administrative expenditure to total expenditure and political instability, it is possible that once they are pushed into a competitive mode, political parties try to overcome these negative factors .

While Telangana protagonists are now showcasing Chidambaram’s article as an endorsement of what they have been saying for decades, the united state group says it is confirmation of their charge that the Union Home Minister is bent upon splitting the state .
Keeping aside political posturing, one aspect is increasingly becoming crystal clear:

Delhi’s Dec. 9 announcement on taking steps towards creating a separate Telangana state was definitely not a knee-jerk reaction. It was a well-thought out decision which has the blessings of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi as well. “I have promised Telangana state to the people of the region way back in 2004. How can I go back?” is the one question that she is reportedly posing to coastal Congress leaders ever since they started opposing division .

The Congress seems to believe that by responding to a people-centric agitation like the Telangana stir, which is largely led by the weaker sections clamouring for a rightful share in the development process, it would be seen as a party prepared to embrace the social revolution which is clearly in the making for anyone willing to notice.


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