Mayawati’s decision to divide state

mayawatiLooks like Mayawati is on the verge of following the British policy of divide and rule, she is likely to announce the reorganization of Uttar Pradesh, splitting the sprawling state into four parts, a move that can be seen as a masterstroke for the following 2012 elections.

BSP sources have also confirmed that Mayawati is planning to carve four new states out of Uttar Pradesh. As being planned, a new state naming Poorvanchal will be formed comprising the eastern part of the state with thirty two districts while the twenty two western districts will be grouped together as Harit Pradesh. Bundelkhand will be formed of seven districts while the remaining 14 districts in central UP will form the fourth state.

Mayawati herself didn’t deny the move when the reporters questioned her at a press conference called by her to announce the hike in state advisory price for sugarcane. As stated by her in the conference, It’s a big issue but I will not talk about it today because if I do, you people will downplay the SAP story, a big pro-farmer step of the state government.

The division of UP have been discussed for a long period of time now as administrative problems are cropping up due to its large size. Even after Uttarakhand was formed out of the state, it remains very difficult to administer it in an organized manner.

However, due to the upcoming elections, the BSP sources are hoping that the policy of dividing Uttar Pradesh would set the agenda for the coming polls, while diverting attention away from the corruption and other charges against the government.

Almost all political parties have at various times advocated division of the state into smaller parts. Congress has been campaigning the creation of Bundelkhand by citing the reason of that area’s backwardness due to its long distance from Lucknow.  BJP also is known for its support of  creation for smaller states , as being a ruling party then, it itself carved out Uttarakhand out of UP, and Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand  out of Bihar in 2000. Right now, it is also supporting the demand for Telangana. But BJP claimed that the decision to divide UP should be taken after the state reorganization commission studies the plan properly.

Samajwadi Party is planning to oppose this decision though, as stated by its general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav, “The division will reduce UP’s clout in national politics.”  But BSP party members feel that SP’s opposition will help Mayawati’s plan to shape the narrative.

As guaranteed by the constitution, the power to create new states is vested with Parliament. Constitution also states that the bill for creation of new states can be introduced in either House of Parliament as being recommended by the President. If the bill affects the area, boundaries or names of any of the states, President would refer the bill to the legislature of the state for expressing its views within a stipulated period.

However the Congress is already caught in a tricky position over the demand for the separate state of Telangana, and most probably won’t reveal its stand right now. As stated by its leaders, Congress might support Mayawati’s proposal but the final decision would be taken by the high command. In New Delhi, Congress did not oppose the move outright, but pointed out that the proposal should be referred to a new State Reorganization Commission.

Since winning the 2007 elections, Mayawati has been found talking about the division of that state. She publicly supported the division of UP while addressing a rally in Lucknow, and followed that by writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2008 and, again, in 2009. Most recently, she raised it in September while announcing the creation of three new districts in western UP.

Smaller outfits who are long demanding a separate statehood are apparently happy with Mayawati’s decision. We are getting support of the National Federation for New States, which includes outfits fighting for small states across the country, said Raja Bundela of Bundelkhand Congress.

Also, former SP leader Amar Singh announced that he would hold a rally on November 13 at Sarnath in Varanasi in support of the creation of Poorvanchal.

Mayawati’s decision to divide state

Report by Indrani Chowdury