Maya skips homework

And lets centre pick holes in her plan to divide UP

prasanna

Prasanna Mohanty | December 20, 2011



If chief minister Mayawati’s plan to divide UP into four isn’t going anywhere she herself has to blame for it. She hardly had left the union home ministry with any choice other than sending back her proposal with multiple queries. Her rejoinder that the union government wants to keep the issue ‘pending’ by picking holes cuts no ice.

To begin at the beginning, there has been no public demand for statehood for any of Harit Pradesh, Bundelkhand, Awadh Pradesh or Purvanchal in the recent past. The last time one heard about a demand for statehood in UP came from RLD leader Ajit Singh who demanded a Harit Pradesh about decade or so ago. Even in that case, there was no public movement or unrest of the kind one witnessed in cases of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh or Uttarkhand, which got statehood in 2000, or in the case of Telangana where similar demand continues.

Mayawati did talk of dividing UP into four after she won the 2007 elections and formed her government in Lucknow but that was a passing thought until November this year when she finally sprang a surprise on her political rivals and brought a resolution in the assembly. There were loud protests and the resolution was adopted amidst a din in a matter of minutes. There was no debate and that was reflected in the subsequent reactions of the major political parties like the Samaajwadi Party, BJP and Congress who dismissed the move as a ‘political stunt’. Mayawati was unmoved and forwarded the four-line resolution to the union home ministry.

The home ministry has, therefore, rightly demanded to know the bare essentials of the plan, if ever there was one, to be able to take it forward. The home ministry note seeks to know economic feasibility of the four entities, how the assets and liabilities would be shared, names of the cities to house new seats of power, how the civil service would be split and so on. Had she been sincere or serious about the state’s division, she would have provided these details in the first place. If she didn’t it was because she had done no homework.

Mayawati is right when she says the state reorganisation is a central subject and that she didn’t need to send the assembly resolution. Article 3 of the constitution indeed says, “Parliament may by law (a) form a new state by separation of territory from any state or by uniting two or more states or parts of states or by uniting any territory to a part of any state…” provided that “no bill for the purpose shall be introduced in either house of parliament except on the recommendation of the president and unless, where the proposal contained in the bill affects the area, boundaries or name of any of the states, the bill has been referred by the president to the legislature of that state for expressing its view thereon or within such further period as the president may allow and the period so specified or allowed has expired”.

The assembly does figure in the scheme of things but not necessarily at the beginning of the process. But there is little justification in her blaming the union for not initiating a move because there never was any ground to do that.

In fact, her opponents have reasons to attribute motives to her move because it came after a series of scams involving central government schemes, murder of two CMOs, arrest of several legislators from her party on charges ranging from rape to murder and charges of corruption against her ministerial colleagues. She did need to divert public attention away from an excessive focus on poor governance in the state.

The fact that there is little public reaction to the union government’s move shows that there wasn’t a popular sentiment for division of the state in the first place.

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