The 2017 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh are round the corner and there’s a likelihood of the issue of division of the state dominating the pre-election discourse. With the BSP emerging as a strong claimant to power, it may be subject to a referendum.
Prior to the 2012 elections, BSP supremo Mayawati had passed a proposition to divide UP into four parts — Purvanchal, Bundelkhand, Western UP and Awadh Pradesh. The SP had raised its voice against it. Simultaneously, Mayawati, then in power, had also passed a no trust resolution against the opposition party. Political parties like the BJP and the Congress had supported her resolution. However, she failed to win the election and her proposal went into the cold storage. BSP cadres are of the opinion that this time she could put the proposal for the division of the state in the party manifesto itself.
Maintenance of law and order and lack of uniform development have been big challenges for the state ever since independence. Its humongous size is believed to the one of the reasons for these. Mayawati is determined to prove her vision and commitment for development in UP by going ahead with its division. This may also be her attack on the Akhilesh Yadav-led SP government under which the law and order situation is in a helpless state.
In 1955, Ambedkar, in his book Bhashayi Rajya, too had recommended the division of the state. Mayawati can claim she is taking ahead Ambedkar’s vision and declare herself to be the inheritor of his legacy. A huge aspiration for development has made its way among ordinary people and local leaders who are working in these sub-regions. These people have affiliated themselves more with the political centre and are aspiring for political participation.
Mayawati may gain popularity among the common masses in these four sub-regions by her political move. Though this is an important issue, it failed to create a favourable environment for Mayawati during the last election due to various reasons.
One of them is Mayawati raised this issue late and it ended up being an election issue only. Secondly, with little time for dissemination, it could not reach a wider level at the grassroots.
Mayawati will raise it again but the scene is a bit different now. Unlike earlier, people now remember her struggle on this issue during the time of her government. It will be her USP. People aspire for a green and divided state in western UP which is the fundamental base of her politics. Her move may therefore strengthen her political base even more in western UP.
It is likely that BJP will join hands with the BSP because it has always been the supporter of small states. It is noteworthy to mention that states like Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh were formed during the rule of BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee. However, it may not take electoral advantage because it is seen as BSP’s issue. The Congress is all set for alliance with Ajit Singh. In this case it has to support his demand of a green state and cannot go against the demands of Purvanchal and Bundelkhand.
Thus Samajwadi Party will be the only political outfit demanding an undivided UP. No matter whoever wins it seems that the issue of divided UP will emerge as a big issue in the forthcoming UP elections.
Updated Date: May 13, 2016 18:42 PM