Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday said there is no proposal before his government to create a separate state of Vidarbha, an issue over which the opposition Congress-NCP as well as ally Shiv Sena targetted BJP.
“There’s no such proposal (for a separate Vidarbha state). Carving out small states is a subject handled by the Centre,” Fadnavis said in the state Assembly, amid noisy protests by the opposition which forced the House to be adjourned for the day.
Vehemently opposing the bifurcation of Maharashtra, Shiv Sena also slammed the proponents of the Vidarbha state, which has been backed by sections in BJP and some other parties from the region.
Shiv Sena MLA Prakash Abitkar sought a clarification from Fadnavis on the government’s stand over the matter even as Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil (Congress) alleged that there is a “fixing” between Sena and BJP over the issue.
Patil said Maharashtra was formed after the sacrifice of 105 martyrs of the movement for a unified state and alleged the “BJP has insulted people of Maharashtra by making and backing the demand for separate Vidarbha”.
The Assembly was adjourned for the day as the opposition continued protesting. The issue had disrupted the House proceedings on Friday as well. Shiv Sena MLAs staged a protest at the main entrance of the Assembly, raising the slogan “Maharashtra should remain united,” and displaying a banner lampooning BJP MP Nana Patole, who had last week moved a resolution in the Lok Sabha seeking formation of Vidarbha state.
The Sena legislators also sought an apology from BJP state president Raosaheb Danve for allegedly backing the demand for a separate Vidarbha state. Earlier in the day, Congress-NCP legislators rushed to the Well of the House and raised slogans for a united Maharashtra.
Shiv Sena MLA from Kolhapur, Rajesh Kshirsagar, picked up the mace in front of the Speaker but put it down after the Chief Minister objected. Talking to reporters outside the house, Patil said, “Fadnavis should clarify his stand on a separate Vidarbha,” accusing the government of “trying to cut Maharashtra into pieces”.
“If the Chief Minister is so honest about his intentions, he should table a resolution on separate Vidarbha in the legislature,” he said.