If the increasing demand for bifurcation of States from different quarters of the country is any indication, the pressure for setting up a Second State Reorganisation Commission (SRC) seems to be mounting on the Centre.
Ever since the political decision on Telangana was taken, said a senior Congress minister, not a Cabinet meeting has gone by without Union Civil Aviation Minister and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader Ajit Singh asking for Harit Pradesh, a state that could be created out of western Uttar Pradesh districts.
Ajit Singh is not the sole warrior in this front. The last Congress Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Jagdambika Pal (who was in the power for just three days), too has been pressing for division of the state into ‘administratively manageable units’.
The UPA’s key supporter BSP supremo Mayawati has also been putting pressure on the Centre to get the Uttar Pradesh State Assembly resolution, which she got passed during her last tenure as the chief minister, proposing the state’s division into four pieces, adopted by Parliament.
Uttar Pradesh is not the only state where sub-regional sentiments are taking shape for separate states. In West Bengal, Darjeeling is burning, as the ethnic Gorkhas want to part ways with the mother state, while in Assam, Bodoland movement has turned violent.
To defuse ethnic violence in his state, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had to call the Army. The Congress high command’s Telangana gamble, a card it played to win parliamentary seats, might affect Gogoi’s ability to deliver seats from his state. He is not just staring at the problems of communal strife between Muslims and tribals, and atrocities against women as election issues, but also separate statehood demands.
What is worse is that one district Congress committee of his state has passed a resolution demanding that a separate state of Karbi Anglog be carved out of Assam. If such divisions are taken note of by the Second SRC, then what would be left of Assam is anybody’s guess. The case is no different in West Bengal. If Darjeeling becomes Gorkhaland, then it would not be long before the Rajbhansis of neighbouring Cooch Behar re-start their demand for a separate state.
In another move, a section of Maharashtra Congress leaders – known as the Nagpur conclave – is demanding a separate Vidarbha state. Seven-time MP Vilas Muttemwar has written a letter to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, asking her to agree to the proposal. NCP heavyweight and Union Minister Sharad Pawar has also made it clear that he has no objection against a separate Vidarbha State. Separate state means smaller regional/sub-regional parties, which have to otherwise toe the line of bigger parties, could get to wrench power and rule states on their own.
The Telangana decision has also ignited hopes of Gujarat Congress leaders to demand for separate Saurashtra. And, if sources are to be believed, disgruntled Seemandhra leaders and the billionaires who support United Andhra are ready to fund the separate Saurashtra movement, just to spite (Narendra) Modi’s ‘Jai Telangana, Jai Seemandhra’ war cry in Hyderabad. The Andhra Pradesh leaders, in consonance with the Congress members from Suarashtra, are asking if Andhra could be bifurcated why not Gujarat. Congress leaders in Tamil Nadu have also joined the race for separate statehood. Former MP Era Anbarasu said he wanted the division of Tamil Nadu.
Meanwhile, more demands are pouring in from Andhra Pradesh for a tribal state called Manya Seema, comprising of tribal areas of Adilabad, Karimnagar, Warangal, Khammam, East Godavari, West Godavari, Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts. The delegation of Manya Seema Rashtra Sadhana Samithi is expected to meet A K Antony committee on August 19.
Flooded with divorce demands from states, the Central Government might set up a Second State Reorganisation Commission to look into all such cases. “We are looking at the possibility of a State Reorganisation Committee, but it will not be announced immediately. There is political pressure from both sides,” said a top government source.