The demand for a separate Vidarbha state is set to gain momentum with the Vidarbha Joint Action Committee (JAC), a group of over 30 organizations, planning to intensify its protest on the eve of the winter session of Maharashtra Assembly next month.
Ashish Deshmukh, (39), the convener of the JAC will sit on an “indefinite fast” from December 6, 2013 in front of the Maharashtra Assembly building in Nagpur.
“Only a separate state can be a solution to all the problems of the Vidarbha region. The demand for a separate Vidarbha state is a century old demand. In 1953, the first State Reorganization Commission headed by Fazal Ali had recommended a separate Vidarbha state along with Telangana.” said Mr. Deshmukh.
“The Government has given a go ahead to Telangana but what about Vidarbha which remains one of the most backward region affected by farmers suicides, Naxalism, massive financial backlog, neglected tourism, neglected mineral wealth, malnutrition and all sorts of problems” added Mr. Deshmukh who is the son of former Maharashtra Agriculture Minister and PCC chief Ranjeet Deshmukh.
The Vidarbha JAC also plans to hold a “symbolic Assembly session" of the separate Vidarbha.
“We believe in our hearts now that Vidarbha is a separate state and the assembly session will prove that point. The two day assembly session will have everything in common with the actual assembly session including a speaker, a Chief Minister, a Cabinet, opposition and other members of the assembly and we will discuss all the issues afflicting Vidarbha” informed Mr. Ram Nevle , an office bearer of a farmers organisation which is a part of the JAC.
Senior pro-Vidarbha Leader Jambuvant Rao Dhote has called for “Vidarbha Bandh” on December 9, the first day of winter assembly session. The JAC will also organize a referendum for a separate Vidarbha state in Nagpur on December 16.
“We carried out a referendum in Amravati district a month ago where people overwhelmingly voted for a separate Vidarbha state with 85 per cent people voting in its favour” claimed Mr. Deshmukh.