Several political groups and social organisations Sunday started a
two-day sit-in agitation here to press the demand for a separate
The initiative has been taken by Congress MP Vilas Muttemwar who led
around 2000 people at the peaceful sit-in (dharna) before a statue
of Mahatma Gandhi at Variety Square in the heart of the city.
The agitators have demanded that along with the
recently-approved proposal for a Telangana state, the central
government should also “favourably” consider the 50-year-old demand
for a separate Vidarbha state.
This, they said, would save the region -
worst-hit by a spate of farmland suicides in the past decade - from
Among the prominent groups which have joined
the two-day stir is Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) which
appealed to all political parties to support the demand for a
“Congress president Sonia Gandhi should
consider the apathy shown to the people of this region in the past
50 years, which now has slid to among the most backward regions in
the country though it falls in the most advanced state of India,”
VJAS chief Kishor Tiwari said.
In a letter to the Congress president last
week, Muttemwar said that even the erstwhile British rulers
recommended a separate Vidarbha way back in 1888, followed by the
State Reorganisation Commission of 1955, and then prime minister
Rajiv Gandhi in 1988.
In 1996, a delegation of senior leaders like
Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Meira Kumar, K. Karunakaran, Rajesh
Pilot, Balram Jakhar, Mukul Wasnik, Vasant Sathe, N.K.P. Salve,
Sudhakarrao Naik and Muttemwar had met the then Prime Minister H. D.
Deve Gowda demanding the formation of a separate Vidarbha as
envisaged by the States Reorganisation Commission.
Tiwari said that more people are expected to
join the stir on its second day Monday) and the voice of the people
demanding a separate Vidarbha “would echo till the national