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Statehood Sentiments

The decision of creating a separate Telangana has as expected, opened a Pandora's box of statehood demands from across the country right from Maharashtra to Jammu and Kashmir to the Northeast. For these protesters, the T State decision marks a major change in Central Policy regarding creation of new states for the first time in the past 13 years. 

While Telangana is busy celebrating the rest of the country is raging
The most intensive protest is coming from Darjeeling in northern West Bengal, where the demand for a separate Gorkhaland has been raging for even longer than for a separate Telangana. This Gorkhaland is hardly economically and politically viable. It has but one parliamentary constituency in the Lok Sabha, which will severly affect it's political influence at the Center. United West Bengal acccounts for a mammoth 42 seats, which can swing the turn of the tide on the national stage. Moreover, Gorkhaland is centered around Darjeeling, whose economy is solely based on tea production and tourism. Revenue generation would never be adequate.

Buoyed by Telangana, voices have been raised for a separate Vidarbha in northwestern Maharashtra. Vidarbha is much more sizable, has a good 10 Lok Sabha constituencies and  a large population besides two important cities - Nagpur and Amravati. Besides, the demand for Vidarbha is understandable and has a logical reasoning. Since independence, Vidarbha has always been neglected by successive state governments. It's poverty levels and malnutrition rates are high. Farmer suicides are a norm. Another important fact to be taken into consideration is that it is a major center for production of cotton which could be a blessing if mills are set up here. Vidarbha also has two-thirds of Maharashtra's natural resources besides three tiger reserves. Overall, Vidarbha is both economically and politically viable.

In her home-state of Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati has once again called for a four-way split of Uttar Pradesh. Now here's a decision that makes a lot of sense, indeed.  200 million people, 72 districts, over 800 blocks and 80 parliamentary constituencies. These are Uttar Pradesh's sprawling dimensions. If it were a separate country it would be the fifth-most populous nation in the world. Besides there is no evidence of the fact that historically, it has been one state. In fact, there exists such a wide cultural divide between Western and Eastern UP that while Western represents Punjab and Haryana, Eastern UP is similar to Bihar. The landmass of Awadh in the center has it's own culture while Bundelkhand in the south is entirely different from other regions.

Maywati's proposed splitting of Uttar Pradesh
Moreover, there exists a wide disparity between these regions. While Western Uttar Pradesh is prosperous, Bundelkhand is economically deprived and Eastern Uttar Pradesh is almost as  bad. A four-way split shall make smaller administrative units, making governance much more effective. Each has a city which could be made it's capital and an industry to rely upon as it's economic powerhouse. Besides, united Uttar Pradesh has 80 Members of Parliament, which give too huge an influence on the national political scene. Cutting UP down thus, is a win-win situation for all.

The Northeast has become a hotbed for protest activities for the formation of smaller states, with Bodoland (Assam), Karbi Anglong (Assam) and Kamtapur (West Bengal and Assam) leading it. All these three proposed states are solely reliant on regional identities, have no political significance and have no proper economy. They are just politically convenient and a method of raking up sentiments among people. A separate Karbi Anglong for example, would never make things better there.

 In principle, I agree with the idea that smaller units are more efficient and deliver a better quality of administration. But we should take care that while splitting up states, we do it wisely, ensuring that all these states are economically and politically viable. Let's take the example of Jharkhand, where politics is so muddled up that every day the political landscape changes considerably. In the past 13 years of independent existence, not one government has completed it's full term. In contrast, Chattisgarh and Uttarakhand, which were formed at the same time are doing considerably well. The difference is that in Jharkhand, we have a wasteland of political parties while in Chattisgarh and Uttarakahnd, it's a two sided political contest.
Before independence, India has around 500 princely kingdoms beside the British provinces. The Iron Man of India, our Home Minister Sardar Patel strived hard to united them and divide them into the 28 states we have now. The way we are going, we could end up with 500 states soon, all of which have been raised solely for political convenience or on the basis of a separate identity. Granting them, would be highly detrimental to India's unity and integrity.

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