Maharashtra Advocate General demands separate statehood for Marathwada, draws flak

After calling for a referendum on the issue of carving out separate Vidarbha state, Maharashtra Advocate General Shreehari Aney has now espoused a separate Marathwada state, drawing flak from the opposition parties.

"Marathwada bore more injustice than Vidarbha and should therefore be independent," Aney said at an event in Jalna district yesterday. He also called people of Marathwada to start a movement for formation of a separate state.

As the state Assembly proceedings began today, the Opposition legislators created noisy scenes over Aney's remarks, and sought his resignation.

"Aney has made controversial remarks again," Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said. State Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said,"Is Aney an agent for dividing the state?"

When the controversy over Aney's separate Vidarbha remarks erupted last year, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had indicated that there was no need for Aney's resignation for his statement on Vidarbha, while stating that the subject of creating a separate state of Vidarbha falls solely in the jurisdiction of the Parliament and union government.

The Shiv Sena had staged demonstrations and demanded Aney's resignation for his statement on a need for referendum to create a separate Vidarbha state.

Fadnavis had said Aney made it clear that he had expressed his views in a private function and not as the
Advocate General of the state.

The CM had said Aney had made the statement during the release of book Vidarbha Gaatha, penned by Aney, on December 5, 2015 in Nagpur, and had sent the details of what he said during the programme.

The AG had pointed out that many speakers expressed the need for a separate Vidarbha state, after which he said it was not proper that Vidarbha also should go the Telangana way with a violent agitation for separate statehood.

Aney had also said that while some people argue that the separate Vidarbha demand was made by a few leaders and does not enjoy popular public support, the fact was that 97 per cent people in four districts of Vidarbha had voted in favour of a separate Vidarbha. He further said that if at all there were any doubts, the Centre could go for a referendum.

Fadnavis had then said Aney made it clear that he made no statement insulting the 105 martyrs who laid down their lives during the Samykta Maharashtra agitation. He said since creating a separate state was not in the ambit of the state, the government will work towards overall
development of the region.

Leader of Opposition in the state Legislative Council, Dhananjay Munde had said Aney insulted the martyrs who laid down their lives to create the united Maharashtra and questioned as to how Aney, despite being the Advocate General, could make a statement against the interests of the state.

Following a ruckus, the House was adjourned for 35 minutes. When the House reassembled, Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse made a statement to clarify the government's stand on Aney's remarks and said, "What Aney said is not view of the state government. The state government does not agree with his view.

"Please let the House function as usual. You are creating chaos for political gains. Don't you want to discuss drought and issues concerning people?"

"The issue of separate statehood is not under consideration of the state government now. We will take appropriate action (on Aney's remarks). Discussion has been held with the CM," he said. After Khadse's statement, the House was adjourned for the day.

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