Maharashtra AG calls for referendum on separate Vidarbha

Nagpur: Maharashtra Advocate General Shreehari Aney has called for a referendum on the issue of carving out a separate Vidarbha state.

"If 51 per cent people vote in favour of statehood, then the Centre should create a separate Vidarbha state. I know for sure that more than 80 per cent people in the region will vote in favour of it and that is why the Central government does not have the courage to go in for a referendum," Aney said at a function to release his book 'Vidarbha Gatha' (The saga of Vidarbha) in Nagpur on Saturday.

He expressed confidence that the referendum would be 'in favour' of separate state. Aney, who is the grandson of late Bapuji Aney, a Congress MP from city (1962) and a pro-Vidarbha leader, has written about the history of the statehood struggle and injustice done to the region by successive state governments.

"The efforts of private agencies have indicated it (the separate Vidarbha movement) clearly. District Bar Associations in all the 11 districts of Vidarbha have passed resolutions unanimously (far carving out separate state)," said Aney. One cannot imagine violent Vidarbha movement like that for Telangana, in which 1,200 students have died, he said. Nine students lost life in struggle against shifting of Dr Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (PKV) to Rahuri, while more than a hundred Gowaris lost lives while agitating for their demands, he said.

The movement does not become popular by such incidents, he opined.

Aney said that over 35,000 farmers in Vidarbha have committed suicide, which would not have occurred in separate Vidarbha state. Hoping that his book would awaken people, the Advocate General said he has done his job as a protagonist of Vidarbha.

On the occasion, noted thinker and journalist Suresh Dwadashiwar traced the history of Vidarbha movement from 1920 and said that a separate state was refused (by Congress governments) only to save leadership of western Maharashtra. Majority of the leaders, including those from this region, have shown insensitivity towards issues of the region. Their true face will come to the fore when all are brought on a common platform, he said.

Observing that when Congress, NCP, RPI and BJP are in support of Vidarbha state, Dwadashiwar asked where is the problem in carving it out. The people of the region have lost faith in their leaders, who change their stance after the elections, he said.

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