The Centre’s initiative on the creation of a separate new Telangana State appears to have given a fillip to the longstanding demand for creation of a separate State of Bundelkhand now with the Bundelkhand Mukti Morcha set to launch a ‘padayatra’ from Kamtanath temple in Chitrakoot district of Uttar Pradesh to Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh on December 16.
The ‘padayatris’ aim to cover 300 km by the time the march ends in Khajuraho on January 1, 2010. This would be followed by a ‘kisan mahapanchayat’ in Orchha (Madhya Pradesh) on January 26.
The Bundelkhand Mukti Morcha has been at the vanguard of the movement for creation of a Bundelkhand State by carving out seven districts of Uttar Pradesh and 12 of Madhya Pradesh. The seven UP districts of the backward Bundelkhand region of the State are Jhansi, Lalitpur, Jalaun, Mahoba, Hamirpur, Chitrakoot and Banda.
Though the convenor of the Morcha, cinema and TV actor Raja Bundela, said on Thursday that the people’s march for Bundelkhand had been planned earlier, he admitted that the demand would gather momentum now following the Centre’s nod for a new Telangana State.
"Ours would be a peaceful march through which the Bundelkhand Mukti Morcha will intimate the Centre as well as the State governments about the need to create a separate State. Financial package alone is not going to solve the magnitude of the problems faced by the people of the region,” Raja Bundela told The Hindu over phone.
Issues ranging from Bundelkhand’s backwardness, miseries in the wake of the drought and forced migration of the people have dominated the politics of the region with both the Congress and the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party locked in a battle of political hegemony. Recently the UPA Government at the Centre approved a package of over Rs.7,000 crore for development of the region with the money to be apportioned between UP and Madhya Pradesh.
"Unfortunately, funds have often not been put to productive use. Moreover, the 27 MLAs belonging to the region have no say in the development initiative,” said Mr. Bundela.
In fact, the Bundelkhand Mukti Morcha has claimed that a treaty had been signed by the rulers of 35 principalities of the Bundelkhand region in UP and MP and a representative of the Government of India in 1949 where the idea of Bundelkhand State was born. The Morcha convenor said Telangana and Bundelkhand have a common basis.
Apart from Bundelkhand, the demand for a separate State of Purvanchal and a separate State of Harit Pradesh has also been raised in the State. The demand for Harit Pradesh by incorporating four divisional commissionaries of western Uttar Pradesh has figured prominently on the political agenda of Rashtriya Lok Dal. That smaller States were administered better has been the rationale for the RLD’s demand for Harit Pradesh.
UP Chief Minister Mayawati, too, has supported the demand for creation of Purvanchal, Bundelkhand and Harit Pradesh and for the development of the Bundelkhand region she has demanded a special incentive package of Rs.80,000 crore from the Centre. But two years down the line, the Centre is yet to respond to her proposal.