Nagpur: Former MP and staunch protagonist of separate statehood for Vidarbha, Banwarilal Purohit, has supported a "referendum" for a separate Vidarbha state, planned by local non-governmental organisation Jan Manch, on December 16.
In a statement released here on Friday, Purohit said the referendum would give the people of Nagpur a great opportunity to express their solidarity with the cause of statehood for Vidarbha.
Purohit, who had moved a non-official bill for the formation of a separate Vidarbha way back in 1978, said the demand for Vidarbha`s statehood has constitutional validity and that the region has continued to languish in backwardness, as part of the state of Maharashtra.
Despite its forest cover and mineral wealth, Vidarbha "suffered" a lot under successive regimes and this "injustice" could be brought to an end only if Vidarbha attains statehood, Purohit said in the statement.
Jan Manch has made elaborate arrangements at 600 places in the city for people to participate in what it calls a "referendum" on December 16 from 6 am to 10 pm.
In Amravati, a similar "referendum" had elicited a tremendous response and proved that as many as 80 per cent of participants favoured statehood for Vidarbha, the release said.