Youth leader Ashish Deshmukh launches fast for separate Vidarbha
Nagpur: Youth leader Ashish Deshmukh on Friday launched an indefinite fast demanding statehood for Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, a day after Union Cabinet gave nod to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh and carve out separate Telangana.
Ashish, son of Ranjeet Deshmukh, a former Maharashtra Minister and also ex-chief of State Congress, began his hunger strike at Civil Lines in western part of the city.
He, accompanied by Dalit leader and former Minister Sulekha Kumbhare, paid floral tributes to Babasaheb Ambedkar on his death anniversary before heading to the fast venue.
Ashish made a brief speech before starting his agitation in the presence of a large number of his supporters and Vidarbha protagonists.
The founder of Youth for Vidarbha State had earlier said time was ripe for reviving the agitation for a separate Vidarbha as the UPA Government at the Centre has agreed to grant statehood to Telangana.
The fast comes just two days ahead of the beginning of winter session of Maharashtra Legislature in Nagpur, the State`s second capital and Vidarbha`s largest city.
The demand for a separate Vidarbha, a region in eastern Maharashtra having nearly a dozen districts and known as the State`s cotton belt, is decades old and agitations for it had been undertaken from time to time.
While parties like Congress, NCP and BJP are broadly in favour of statehood for Vidarbha, others such as Shiv Sena are vehemently opposed to any division of Maharashtra.
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