Nagpur: Raged over the continuous dilly-dallying over the formation of separate Vidarbha state, the aggrieved members of Vidarbha Rajya Andolan Samiti (VRAS) mobbed up in thousands and headed to Gadkariwada, the residence of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari in Nagpur.
Around 1500 members of VRAS had shouted slogans outside Gadkari’s house and demanded his resignation. The members blamed him and the state BJP government, for failing to act on the long standing demand for a separate Vidarbha state.
The rally started with maha-arti of the statue of Vidarbha Chandika. “We will keep the statue of Vidarbha Chandika in chains till separate Vidarbha is created. It will be a sign that our Vidarbha region is not free,” said Ram Neole, convener of the samiti.
The protest rally started around 2pm from Vidarbha Chandika Temple in Itwari, and was stopped near Gandhi Putla by the police. “Gadkari had given to us in writing that if BJP government wins the state elections they will definitely create a separate Vidarbha state. Since they have come to power, no efforts have been taken by them, so we are demanding his resignation,” added Neole.
People from Bhandara, Chandrapur, Wardha and Nagpur district participated in the rally, including women in large numbers. The protesters sang songs criticizing the BJP government and chanted slogans like ‘Vidarbha vegla zalach pahije‘ (Separate Vidarbha must be created), ‘Jai Vidarbha’ and ‘Gadkari murdabad’.
Former MLA Wamanrao Chatap said, “The BJP government has tasted money and power, so they have forgotten the needs of the common man. They must act and support people’s voice of Vidarbha.”
Many banners saying ‘BJP government go back’, ‘electricity bills and farmers loans must be waived off’ were also seen in the rally. When the rally went through one of the most crowded areas in the city, many shops were seen closed.
Arun Kedar, a VRAS activist, said, “Every party has politically benefited from assurances of separate Vidarbha state, but none of them have delivered. Farmers in our region are dying because there is no development. If separate state is created Vidarbha economy will bloom and condition of farmers will become better.”
Many prominent leaders of separate Vidarbha statehood also gave speeches at the rally. “As a leader from Vidarbha, Gadkari should have raised the issue of separate state at the centre, but our leaders did not raise a single question in Lok Sabha,” said Neole.
VRAS will also be demanding resignations of all 10 MPs from Vidarbha region. “We will intensify our protests in the coming days. In December, we will not let the winter assembly to be held here. Only Vidarbha state assembly should take place in Nagpur,” said Neole.