It seems Maharashtra will soon go the same way as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The three states were divided while the BJP was in power there, whereas only Andhra Pradesh split into Telangana under Congress rule. Now in Maharashtra, where the BJP is in power, former RSS spokesperson MG Vaidya has joined the call for dividing the state and that too, into four parts.
With former advocate general Srihari Aney's comments on Sunday, calling for statehood for Marathwada, once again sparking calls for division of the state, Vaidya jumped into the controversy by saying that he supports Aney's statements.
"The ideal population of any state should be about three crore only for which smaller states are required. Maharashtra has a population of over 12 crore so it might be divided into four parts," he said.
Talking to mediapersons in Nagpur he added, "One state should be Mumbai along with Konkan, Western Maharashtra can be a second state, Vidarbha the third state and Marathwada including north Maharashtra a fourth state called Devgiri. I strongly support AG Aney's demand for separate Marathwada and Vidarbh. The government must set up a commission to carve out smaller states to ensure better governance and rapid progress of the people," he added.
The resignation of Maharashtra's Advocate General Shrihari Aney on Tuesday has given renewed voice to those advocating the creation of separate states of Vidarbha and Marathwada.
"Not only Congress, BJP too had supported the cause and adopted a resolution for creating smaller states like Vidarbha at the BJP national executive held in Bhubneshwar in 1996," seven-time MP from Nagpur, Vilas Muttemwar told PTI on Tuesday. "Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari had also supported the demand when they were in Opposition. The issue was raised even during the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in 2014," he said.
Muttemwar also came out in support of Aney, saying that the former advocate general did nothing wrong; his statements only echoed the sentiments of the people of both regions. "Aney belongs to a family who had all along supported Vidarbha. As an individual, he too was entitled to his views on separate Vidarbha and Marathwada," Muttemwar, who turned 67 on Friday, said.
Aney reportedly said on Sunday at an event in Jalna, "Marathwada bore more injustice than Vidarbha and should therefore be independent. Pressure has to be put at the Delhi level to form a separate state as the demand does not come under the purview of Mumbai."
The AG had earlier called for carving out a separate state of Vidarbha from Maharashtra. His comments in Jalna invited criticism from all political quarters, and there were calls that he be sacked. As the controversy raged, Aney himself stepped down from his post. He handed over his resignation to Maharashtra Governor CV Rao, while making it very clear publicly that neither Rao nor Fadnavis had asked him to do so. He stated that he quit on his own volition as it pertained to "conflict of duty" and concerned "institutional stability" as if he didn't do so, the Assembly session would be disrupted.
Former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan alleged that these types of tactics were a ploy to divert attention from the drought crisis.
Nitin Raut, former Maharashtra EGS Minister and three-time MLA from Dalit-dominated Nagpur (North), criticised those who are opposing Aney's stand. Even Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar had favoured statehood for Vidarbha and Marathwada, Raut told Firstpost from Nagpur.
Dr Ambedkar had written in his book Thoughts on Linguistic States that a state will be strong when there is a sense of "fellow-feeling". That fellow-feeling will come when all the people in a state speak the same language. He supported the "one language, one state" rule but also warned of its dangers, saying, "A linguistic State with its regional language as its official language may easily develop into an independent nationality. The road between an independent nationality and an independent State is very narrow. If this happens, India will cease to be Modern India we have and will become the medieval India consisting of a variety of States indulging in rivalry and warfare."