Congress MP from Nagpur, Vilas Muttemwar has exhorted party MLAs from the Vidarbha region to support the demand for a separate state of Maharashtra.
Charging "Mumbai-centric" policy makers of the state with ignoring Vidarbha, Muttemwar, in a letter addressing all 24 party legislators from Vidarbha, has called upon them to come out openly in favour of separate statehood demand and not buckle under any pressure.
Last week, state Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had said that smaller states were not feasible while bigger states like Maharashtra were more economically viable.
Muttemwar rued that the political support provided by Vidarbha has never been reciprocated by the leadership.
"The Congress leaders from (Vidarbha) region were given secondary positions, insignificant portfolios and the region is paying the price for supporting Congress," he alleged.
Vidarbha has a better case than Telangana, but the demand is ignored only because our Congress legislators are afraid to take a public stance, he claimed.
He also refuted THE allegation that he was raising the demand because he was not inducted in Cabinet. "On the contrary, my pro-Vidarbha stance has cost me dearly," the seven-time MP claimed.
Listing out benefits of formation of small and administratively viable units like Vidarbha, Muttemwar stated that Ankisa village of Gadchiroli is 1,400 kms away from Mumbai while the last village of Gondia is at a distance 1,250 km.
On the contrary, even in Uttar Pradesh, the farthest point is not beyond 600 kms from the state capital, he said in his letter, which was released to the press.
Taking a dig at detractors of separate Vidarbha, he reminded them about the prosperity of the region and how it was ruined during last 53 years by alleged apathy of successive governments. Nagpur lost its capital status and flourishing towns like Amravati and Akola are in shambles, he lamented.
Newly formed states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttaranchal achieved prosperity and growth in last one decade, while Vidarbha is reeling under acute backwardness and fighting to wipe out old backlog, which is a result of step-motherly policies of Maharashtra government, he further alleged.