Nagpur: Did you know that the Foundation Stone of Vidhan Sabha building where Winter Session of State Legislative Assembly is held every year was laid on 10th December 1912?
It was laid by His Excellency the Right Honourable Charles Baron Hardinge of Penshurts, Viceroy and Governor General of India.It was constructed by the British Command to house the Administration of the Central Provinces and Berar (CP &Berar) of which Nagpur was the capital. Later, in 1952, CP & Berar was divided into the large Central Indian State of Madhya Pradesh which included the current Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Vidarbha regions.
Nagpur was the capital of this state which then was the second biggest state of the country and was India’s ‘heartland’ literally. Many majestic buildings of the British era were built at around the same time. Like the RBI building adjacent to Vidhan Sabha, the GPO and the High Court.
In 1960, this State was further divided, with Vidarbha region going to Maharashtra State with some misgivings of local leaders. The reason was natural – Nagpur and Vidarbha were more prosperous and progressive then than the rest of Maharashtra. But, a Nagpur Pact was signed by the Maharashtra State Government headed by the then Chief Minister Yashwantrao Chavan to protect the interests and ensure equal development of the Vidarbha region. Thus, Nagpur lost its capital status and go instead the (dubious) distinction of becoming a ‘second’ capital – the first of its kind in the country.
Nagpur was made the auxiliary capital of the Maharashtra and the Winter Session of the State Legislature and the State Legislative Council was to be held at Nagpur which is practiced even today.
By Samuel Gunasekharan (Principle Correspondent)