Nagpur: Yesterday’s happenings in both the Houses of Maharashtra Assembly underline one stark fact : the opponents of separate Vidarbha have forged an across-party lines unity, and it is THEY who dominated proceedings leading to complete break down. It was their heated statements and speeches that raised the temperatures and carried the day it seems. There was not even a squeak from MLAs sent to the House(s) from Vidarbha – mostly belonging to BJP. The Ruling BJP stood isolated and largely silent on the issue.
The first salvo was struck by Shiv Sena MLA Prakash Abitkar who challenged the C.M. to make his stance on Vidarbha clear. This party had come clearly prepared to voice their rigid and vociferous opposition to creation of Vidarbha, they were all donning saffron caps with ‘Akhand Maharashtra’ printed on them.
As soon as Shiv Sena began the topic, MLAs of opposition parties like NCP and Congress flooded the well of the house shouting and raising slogans, all in support of Shiv Sena MLA. Soon the House had to be adjourned.
Almost the same situation was repeated in the Upper House where Opposition leader, NCP MLA Dhananjay Munde raised the topic.
“A BJP Member of Parliament has brought a non-official motion on the issue of separate Vidarbha. The Maharashtra government should make its stand clear on the issue. Is a move to break up Maharashtra being mooted ? C.M. should clarify.”
This led to so much noise and disturbance in the Vidhan Parishad and it also had to adjourned.
Jitendra Awhad, senior leader of NCP was harsh in his castigation –
“Those in power in the state are only trying to break up the state. They have no right to do so, their anti-state activity will not be tolerated. We will ostracize them for their respective towns. ” He said.
Narayan Rane, senior Congress leader and who was a very strong contender for Chief Minister’s chair once from Congress-NCP alliance and had earlier been CM as a Shiv Sena leader, killed it with his sarcasm and turning the heat on Fadnavis.
“Yes, we know he is from Vidarbha and Nagpur and feels strongly about the development of his native area. Nothing wrong with that. He should do his utmost to develop it, no one will oppose it. We would like to know what he has achieved for Vidarbha in the last two years?
But we are categorical about one thing – as CM of Maharashtra you have no right to even think about its bifurcation. Many of your Ministers are also from Vidarbha. If you are committed to a separate state, you should first resign from the Government at once.”
To all this, Fadnavis had no reply – he could not say anything about the issues of Vidarbha, the long injustice meted out to it, the imbalance in resources available for irrigation, power, education…everything. As Rane rightly pointed out, sitting in the C.M.’s chair his hands were tied, his voice was muted.
We cannot even blame MLAs from other political parties like Congress and NCP hailing from Vidarbha for not taking up cudgels against opponents for the simple reason that at this moment there are none!
An overwhelming number of those elected have been from the BJP – all voted to power ironically because of their strong and vocal support for Vidarbha.
In retrospect it does seem foolish of them to have accepted positions of power if it went against the promises they had made to the electorate.
They should have remained united in their demand and asked for a separate state right then. That would have been proof that they were true to their principles and willing to walk the the talk.
But if they had done that, would they be politicians at all?
These happenings define the tragedy of Vidarbha and why we are languishing for so long.
This should teach us loud and clear that depending on ANY political party or any politician will never get us what we want. We should do it by ourselves.