Guwahati: Spurred by New Delhi`s attempt at granting Telangana, several parties- big and small- and many citizen groups have created a storm, demanding acceptance of their old and new demands for creation of separate states.
In Andhra Pradesh itself, not to be left behind on the statehood issue, politicians from Rayalaseema region have demanded separate statehood for the backward region, saying they would agree to division of the state to create Telangana only if their demand for Greater Rayalaseema is acceded to.
Cutting across party lines, the leaders, including legislators from the ruling Congress, opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Praja Rajyam, made it clear that Andhra Pradesh could be divided only if their region was also made a separate state.
This would mean that the present state has to be divided into three states - Telangana, Greater Rayalaseema and Andhra.
Assam tribes’ demands
Ethnic groups in Assam have raised the banner of revolt with demands for separate states to be carved out of the region. Among the prominent groups that have already raised the issue of separate statehood are the Bodos, the Karbis, and the Dimasa tribes in Assam.
The first to raise the issue is the Bodoland People`s Front (BPF), an ally of the ruling Congress party in Assam. "If Telangana can be carved out of Andhra Pradesh, why not a separate Bodoland in Assam," BPF leader Hagrama Mohilary told IANS.
Similar demands were raised by the All Dimasa Students` Union and the Dimasa People`s Council (DPC) for a `Dimaraji` state - a separate state for the Dimasa tribe in Assam.
"The government earlier said a state within states was not good, but now with the central government agreeing for Telangana, we also feel we should get our rights. Dimaraji is not just a demand, it is a fact and our birth right," Mrinal Kanti Phonglosa, DPC president, said.
The Karbi tribe in Assam has also raised a similar demand for a Karbi homeland.
The situation in Assam is more intricate as almost all the tribes demanding separate states are backed by militant groups - the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) seeking a separate Bodoland, the Dima Haolam Daogah (DHD) demanding a Dimaraji state, the Karbi Longri North Cachar Hills Liberation Front seeking a Karbi homeland, besides several other small rebel groups fighting for similar demands.
Divide UP: Maya
Meanwhile, CM Mayawati has demanded that Uttar Pradesh be split into Bundelkhand and Harit Pradesh. “Our party supports the principle of smaller states,” she told reporters in Lucknow. "I have written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging him to give us clearance for creating independent states of Budelkhand and Harit Pradesh out of a giant-sized and unmanageable Uttar Pradesh," she said.
Rashtriya Janata Dal supreme Lalu Yadav also said the party supported creation of separate states like Purvanchal and Bundelkhand. However, on the demand for creation of Mithilanchal
state, Lalu was cryptic and said "I will talk".
RLD chief Ajit Singh
on Thursday night decided to revive his demand for Harit Pradesh to be carved out of Uttar Pradesh after the Parliament session.
"Centre`s decision to bring a resolution in Andhra
Pradesh assembly on formation of Telangana is a welcome move.
It is a good beginning. I will convene a meeting with like
minded groups (those seeking smaller states) after the
Parliament session and revive my demand for Harit Pradesh,"
the Jat leader told news agencies.
Singh, who has long been seeking formation of Harit
Pradesh, to be carved out of parts of western Uttar Pradesh,
said that unlike Andhra Pradesh, the situation in UP is
different "as there is a general consensus (among votaries of
separate Bundelkhand and Poorvanchal) for the state`s
Pressure for separate Vidarbha
The demand for statehood to Vidarbha in Maharashtra gained momentum as former Union minister Vilas Muttemwar today met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and demanded a separate state for the region.
Muttemwar, senior Congress MP from here and protagonist of statehood campaign for Vidarbha, met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and urged him to take steps for creation of separate Vidarbha.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Muttemwar said people of Vidarbha have been peacefully demanding statehood to Vidarbha region since long. The region has great potential and was economically viable, he said.
The proposal for creation of separate Vidarbha has been studied by many committees from time to time, Muttemwar said while thanking him for settling the Telangana issue once for all and agreed for separate Telangana state.
The renewed demand for a separate
state of Vidarbha has meanwhile brought to fore
differences in the Maharashtra Opposition Shiv Sena-BJP alliance.
While state BJP leaders have rallied for fulfillment
of the long-pending demand for a separate Vidarbha, Sena
leaders have come out vehemently against splitting
"We are opposed to a separate Vidarbha state.
Vidarbha`s development is possible even if the region remains
a part of Maharashtra," senior Sena leader Subhash Desai said.
Desai said his party would never support creation of
Vidarbha as a separate state.
"Our party supremo Bal Thackeray believes in `Sanyukta
Maharashtra` (United Maharashtra) and we will not allow the
state break into two parts," he said.
"Those demanding statehood for Vidarbha should
remember the 105 martyrs who laid down their lives for
realising the dream of a Sanyukta Maharashtra (united
Maharashtra)," he said.
’Karaikal as separate UT’
An `apolitical organisation` in Puduherry
seeking Union Territory status for Karaikal, has renewed its
Karaikal is part of the Union Territory of Puducherry.
S.P.Selvashanmugham, convenor of the Karaikal struggle
group (KSG), told PTI that his outfit, comprising freedom
fighters,senior citizens and other people, welcomed the
Centre`s initiative to set in motion the necessary process for
carving out a separate Telangana from Andhra Pradesh.
`We welcome the current development in respect of
Telangana`. At the same time the KSG, which had been seeking
separate Union Territory status for Karaikal, would `intensify
its demand`` if the Centre did not bring in a legislation (to
delink Karaikal from Puducherry) in current session of
Karaikal is about 150 kms from Puducherry.
Gorkhaland statehood just demand: Jaswant
The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) has said its demand for a separate `Gorkhaland` should also be accepted on the same grounds. And to press for the same, they have gone on a 96-hour hunger strike starting Friday and would also enforce a three-day bandh in Darjeeling hills from December 14.
The hunger strike was started by GJM members in all the three hill subdivisions of Darjeeling district, besides in the plains in Siliguri.
Darjeeling MP Jaswant Singh Friday said the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland was "valid" and added that if "legitimate demands" were met, then violence would not be an option.
"Jaswant terms Gorkhaland statehood as `just` demand," Singh told reporters.
The expelled BJP leader said it is a much older demand than Telangana, "first raised in 1907. It is necessary that the government recognises the relevance, the validity and the justness of this demand."