MNS backs Vidarbha statehood demand- TIMES OF INDIAhttp://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/Eyeing-polls-MNS-backs-Vid/articleshow/11482672.cms?prtpage=1
AMRAVATI: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MS) on Friday supported the statehood demand for Vidarbha provided people conducted a referendum. Widely believed as a poll plank with civic elections round the corner, MNS MLA Bala Nandgaonkar said that the demand would be supported if people insist on it and not any political leader. Earlier, MNS had expressed its opposition to the statehood demand.
MNS, which has a tag of a political party of western Maharashtra, seemed to be trying to establish itself in Vidarbha in view of the civic elections with MLAs Nandgaonkar and Pravin Darekar taking up the touchy issue. They also took potshots at the government for sidelining Vidarbha.
Addressing a convention of the office-bearers of western Vidarbha here on Friday, Nandgaonkar said three chief ministers came from Vidarbha but the region was deprived of development. He also urged the activists to work tirelessly in preparation for the civic elections.
He said that it was a matter of pride that NCP president Sharad Pawar praised MNS chief Raj Thackeray for showing courage in politics. Without taking name, he criticized the 'dindi' taken out by Shiv Sena leader Diwakar Raote to highlight the woes of cotton growers.
In reply to a question, Nandgaonkar said that the alliance between Shiv Sena, BJP and RPI would not affect the prospects of MNS. They made the alliance because they did not have the confidence, he said. When asked whether Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray deciding to campaign in the civic election would affect MNS, he replied in the negative.
Darekar said that politicians in Vidarbha are not interested in development. Irrigation backlog, malnutrition and farmers' suicide are crucial issues in Vidarbha. But the government is hardly doing anything for them. Due to lack of infrastructure, industrial development has been hampered in the region. Despite that, Amravati district has great scope for tourism, he said.