Union Minister and senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Monday announced that he was personally in favour of splitting the state of Uttar Pradesh, saying it was currently too large and unwieldy to be effectively administered.
"For a state with a population of 200 million, it is impossible to administer. Splitting Uttar Pradesh is my personal opinion," Ramesh told CNN-IBN editor-in-chief Rajdeep Sardesai in an interview that will be aired at 9 pm tonight.
Soon after the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill was cleared by Parliament, Ramesh, a confidante of Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, had highlighted the need for bifurcating other states with a view to improve administration.
“This is my personal opinion that for the last 15 years good governance is not possible in Uttar Pradesh. Good governance is very difficult in today’s Uttar Pradesh. We should ponder over its future,” he had said.
Soon after his statement, the BJP announced that a separate Vidarbha state would be part of the NDA's 'common minimum programme'.
Ramesh's remark is perhaps a signal that the party is keen on an alliance in Uttar Pradesh with BSP Chief Mayawati, who has been vociferously demanding the bifuraction of the state. When the BSP was in power in UP, her government had in 2011 adopted resolution in the UP Assembly to that effect.
Needless to say, any indication that the Congress could offer a proposed splitting up of Uttar Pradesh in the run-up to the Lok Sabha election 2014 will give fresh energy to a series of other statehood demands. The people of Vidarbha in Maharashtra have been agitating for a separate state for decades, a demand that the Congress-NCP alliance government in Maharashtra has been undecided about. The demand is to carve out about 11 districts of eastern Maharashtra, including that of Nagpur, into a state of Vidarbha.
Others who have been demanding statehood include the Gorkhas (the area around Darjeeling be declared Gorkhaland, they demand) based on the ethno-linguistic rights of the local people, Greater Cooch Behar (in northern West Bengal) and Bundelkhand, an agitation led by the Bundelkhand Mukti Morcha, for areas including some parts of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Other statehood aspirations include those of the people of 'Bodoland', Purvanchal (Eastern UP) and Harit Pradesh (Western UP).
Updated Date: Feb 24, 2014 14:23 PM