Nagpur: After nearly six months of speculation, Maharashtra's former Advocate General Srihari Aney on Saturday decided to take the political plunge and work for the cause of a separate state of Vidarbha, to be carved out of the state.
Aney announced the launch of a new political party, the Vidarbha Rajya Aghadi, which will get down to business right away by contesting the upcoming elections to Nagpur Municipal Corporation and other local bodies on the plank of a separate state.
"The Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party are our enemies No. 1. Its because of them that the doors (of Vidarbha) will always remain shut," he said at the launch.
However, supporters from Vidarbha can be from any party and they will be welcome to join us, said Aney, who quit as the state's top law officer in March this year for openly espousing the cause of a separate state.
The renowned lawyer said he was not averse to entering into tie-ups or seat distribution with like-minded organisations or other political parties supporting a separate Vidarbha, during the forthcoming civic elections.
While quitting the coveted post for which he was handpicked by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in October 2015, Aney described the reasons behind his move as "a conflict of duty and institutional stability".
He reiterated his commitment to the cause of a separate Vidarbha state to effectively tackle the lack of developmental activities, and grappling burning issues like the farmers' suicides in that region, among others.
A month after he quit in March, Aney created another controversy on his 66th birthday in April when he symbolically "cut" a cake of Maharashtra, sparking outrage among major political parties including the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena.
More recently, on September 13, Aney had lashed out at MNS activisits who disrupted a media gathering of Vidarbha Rajya Andolan Samiti addressed by activisists Wamanrao Chatap, Shreenivas Khandewala and Nanda Parate here.
The MNS move was also condemned by several other prominent Vidarbha supporters including Pune-based retired IPS officer Vikram Bokey and left-wing activist Jatin Desai.
Vidarbha region comprises 11 eastern districts of the state including Amravati, Akola, Bhandara, Buldhana, Chandrapur, Gadchiroli, Gondiya, Nagpur, Wardha, Washim and Yavatmal, comprising around 32 percent of the land area supporting 22 percent of the population of Maharashtra.