AG’s resignation gives renewed voice to Vidarbha, Marathwada campaigners

Mumbai, March 22 (IANS) The resignation of Maharashtra’s Advocate General Shrihari Aney on Tuesday has given renewed voice to those advocating the creation of separate states of Vidarbha and Marathwada.

“He has only spoken the truth. As long as Mumbai continues to control Vidarbha and Marathwada, the people of these regions shall be suffocated in every respect,” said Vikram Bokey, a pro-Vidarbha campaigner and president of V.B. Foundation.

Advocate General Aney reportedly said on Sunday at an event in Jalna district that “Marathwada bore more injustice than Vidarbha and should therefore be independent. Pressure has to be put at the Delhi level to form a separate state as the demand does not come under the purview of Mumbai.”

The AG had earlier called for carving out a separate state of Vidarbha from Maharashtra. His comments invited calls for his sacking from political quarters.

As the controversy continued, Aney handed over his resignation letter to Maharashtra Governor C.V. Rao on Tuesday, official sources said.

“A majority of the people want a separate state. What is wrong if Aney has expressed their genuine, deep feelings,” said Vikram Bokey, also president of the Maharashtra Organic Farmers Federation.

In a message to Aney on Tuesday, Bokey said: “It’s a passing phase and we are all with you… Keep it up.”

Hitting out at the government, Bokey said the BJP has become “intolerant” of even larger public sentiments pertaining to emotional issues like Vidarbha and Marathwada and sacrificed the AG to serve its narrow political aims and to cling on to power with ally Shiv Sena.

The national President of BJP Mahila Morcha and chairperson of Maharashtra Women’s Commission Vijaya Rahatkar who hails from Aurangabad (Marathwada) also came out in support of a separate state of Vidarbha and Marathwada.

Former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) spokesperson M.G. Vaidya commented that the ideal population of any state should be about three crore only for which smaller states are required. Maharashtra has a population of over 12 crore.

The government must set up a commission to carve out smaller states to ensure better governance and rapid progress of the people, he added.

While relinquishing his post, Aney made it clear that neither Fadnavis nor Rao sought his resignation. He said he quit on his own volition as it pertained to “conflict of duty” and concerned “institutional stability”.

Aney had succeeded Sunil Manohar last October.

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