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Panel to pursue demand for new States

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI SEPT. 9. A coordination committee has been set up by some political parties and activists to press their demand for creation of several new States out of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

The committee, convened by Chandrashekhar Rao, chief of the Telangana Rashtriya Samithi, will chalk out a common strategy and a joint campaign to bring together all supporters of smaller States.

The immediate demand has been focussed on the creation of Telangana (from Andhra Pradesh), Vidharbha (from Maharashtra) and Bundelkhand, Harit Pradesh and Poorvanchal (from Uttar Pradesh and some parts of Madhya Pradesh).

Today a joint convention of supporters was held here and addressed by the president of the Lok Dal, Ajit Singh, the Lok Janshakti leader, Arif Mohammed Khan, the TRS leader, Mr. Rao and former Lok Sabha MP, Banwarilal Purohit.

The move is seen to be important in the context of the coming Lok Sabha elections. The leaders of smaller States are stating that they will make this an election issue in the affected States. If the demand gathers momentum, major political parties may also be forced to take a stand.

Ajit Singh call

The former Agriculture Minister, Ajit Singh, who has been demanding the creation of Harit Pradesh out of western Uttar Pradesh, said it had become impossible to manage large States. ``It is important to correct the regional imbalances and recognise regional aspirations,'' he said.

Mr. Singh said all the small States were performing well and cited the example of the progress made by States such as Himachal Pradesh and Haryana after they were carved out from Punjab. He said a State like Uttar Pradesh had a population equal to the sixth largest country in the world. Mr. Singh refuted allegations that those demanding smaller States were doing it for political reasons.

Mr. Rao lamented that no objective scientific criteria had been applied when deciding to create new States. ``New States must be created keeping in mind administrative feasibility and the satisfaction of the people," he said.

A movement for the creation of smaller States would be possible only if its supporters won at least 50 per cent of seats in the Assembly elections, Mr. Rao said. Mr. Khan said smaller States were administratively more viable. "They can provide basic facilities in a more efficient manner," he said.

Mr. Purohit said that it was great injustice that the demand for a separate Vidharbha had not been granted till now.

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