Senior Cong leader demands Vidarbha, Omar says separate state after agitations dangerous

Last Updated: Tue, Jul 30, 2013 13:38 hrs

Srinagar: As the Congress moved closer to a decision on Telangana issue, UPA ally and Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday cautioned it was "dangerous" to carve out new states after agitations amid fresh statehood demands in other parts of the country.

In a ripple effect of Telangana, senior Congress leader Vilas Muttemwar pressed for creation of Vidarbha state out of Maharashtra and wrote to party president Sonia Gandhi, saying this demand was "older and stronger" than that for carving out Telangana from Andhra Pradesh.

Omar, working president of the J and K National Conference, while voicing his reservations on the Telangana statehood issue said it could act as an incentive to those agitating for similar demands elsewhere in the country.

"It is fine that you have to create Telangana but don't do it piecemeal. Telangana will be created on the basis of agitations. This way the agitations are being incentivised," Omar told reporters in Srinagar.

He said giving in to the demand of creating a separate state in the backdrop of an agitation was a "dangerous thing".

"An impression is going out that an agitation can lead to creation of a new state, be it in Bundelkhand, Maharashtra, Gorkhaland or in our state. What will you tell people of Jammu -- agitate for seven or eight years and you will get a separate state? This is a dangerous thing," he said.

The J&K chief minister said the job of creating new states should be entrusted to the States Reorganisation Commission. "If there is a need to create new states, the job should be entrusted to the States Reorganisation Commission."

In a letter to party chief Sonia Gandhi, Muttemwar said: "now when the Telangana state has been agreed to be carved out of Andhra Pradesh, people of Vidarbha will have genuine resentment if their similar demand for creation of separate Vidarbha state is not (not) simultaneously agreed to."

Muttemwar, a seven-term Lok Sabha member who represents Nagpur, expressed apprehensions that if the demand of the people of Vidarbha is not accepted at this juncture, "they will grievously and genuinely will grievously and genuinely feel badly neglected and may resort to violent agitations."

Besides Vidarbha, the Telangana issue has opened the floodgates to similar demands for creating a separate Gorkhaland in West Bengal, Bodoland in Assam and carving out Harit Pradesh from Uttar Pradesh.

Union minister Ajit Singh led-Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) has already stepped up the demand for creating Harit Pradesh out of the western part of Uttar Pradesh, his home turf. He is also in favour of a separate Bundelkhand state--a region now divided between Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung has already gone public, saying: "Our demand for Gorkhaland is older than the demand for Telangana. If the Centre announces a Telangana state then it should also declare a Gorkhaland state."

Gurung yesterday threatened that the ongoing three-day strike, which entered the second day today, would be converted into an indefinite one to press for Gorkhaland in case statehood was conferred on Telangana.

Amid the clamour for creating small states, CPM general secretary Prakash Karat said statehood for Telangana will spur such demands in other parts of the country.

"The central government will have to take the responsibility to see that there is no further division of states whether it is West Bengal or anywhere else," he said.

"It should be made clear that you cannot go on having an endless division of a state or reation of new states," Karat added.

More from Sify: