Home / Politics / Policy /  From UP to Bengal, Telangana decision brings divisions to the fore

New Delhi: A day after the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the Congress endorsed a plan to carve Telangana out of Andhra Pradesh as India’s 29th state, other fault lines have emerged—in Uttar Pradesh (UP) and West Bengal.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati sought the division of UP into smaller states on Wednesday, reviving an initiative she tried to push through in the last days of her previous term as the state’s chief minister, and soon after the UPA and the Congress agreed on Tuesday to carve Telangana out of Andhra Pradesh.

Experts and analysts said on Tuesday that the move would only increase the fervour and momentum of other movements seeking statehood.

Reason enough for West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee to threaten those who have been demanding a separate Gorkha state, saying that whoever “destabilizes" peace in the hills will “face the music".

Describing the Centre’s decision to create Telangana as “irresponsible" and “unfortunate", Banerjee ruled out acceding to the Gorkha demand for a separate state to be carved out of West Bengal.

On Tuesday, Gorkha leader Bimal Gurung stepped down as chief of the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA)—an autonomous body—to launch a fresh offensive with an indefinite strike starting Saturday.

An ongoing general strike ends Thursday morning. The Gorkhas gave people 48 hours to leave Darjeeling and brace for an indefinite shutdown.

The state government has accepted Gurung’s resignation but ruled out dissolving the GTA, which was formed in 2011 under a tripartite agreement comprising the Centre, state and the Gorkhas.

Gurung said on Tuesday that he was quitting the GTA because he needed more time to strengthen the movement for Gorkhaland.

He said he was also upset with the state government because of its excessive interference in running the affairs of the hills when the GTA was supposed to give the Gorkhas more autonomy in governing themselves and the hill district.

“Why was Telangana created before the general election?" Banerjee asked, adding that some Congress leaders are inciting the Gorkha agitation in Darjeeling. “I have already written a letter to the prime minister, apprising him of the situation," she said in Kolkata.

Former UP chief minister Mayawati said smaller states would improve the quality of governance, and urged central ministers from UP to put pressure on the Congress-led UPA to initiate the process of quartering the state. She reiterated her demand for the four new smaller states at a hurriedly convened press conference in Uttar Pradesh’s capital Lucknow on Wednesday.

In November 2011, just ahead of the assembly election in which the BSP was defeated by the Samajwadi Party (SP), the Mayawati-led government had moved a resolution seeking to divide the state into four parts—Purvanchal, Bundelkhand, Awadh Pradesh and Paschim Pradesh. The resolution was passed by a voice vote in the assembly. The SP has always opposed the move.

The BSP extends issue-based support to the UPA, which has been reduced to a minority in both Houses of Parliament.

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