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Pawar rakes up Vidarbha issue, eyes 2014 polls

Out of 62 seats in Vidarbha, NCP won only 5 in last assembly elections

Sanjay Jog  |  Mumbai 

Nationalist Party (NCP) chief while supporting the formation of Telangana state has announced his party would not oppose statehood for but respect the sentiments of its residents.

Pawar chose to rake up the issue in a bid to lure voters from to consolidate his part's position in the run up to the parliamentary and Maharashtra assembly elections slated for 2014.

Currently, Of the 62 assembly seats in Vidarbha, won 5 in 2009 elections. Union minister Praful Patel is the lone member from the region elected to Lok Sabha. He won the seat during last general elections.

At the same time, chief has tried to rub salt on the wounds of which is unable to take a final call in the regard in the wake of lack of efforts to mobilize people in and also achieve political consensus. Similarly, he has attempted to further widen  differences BJP and Shiv Sena on this issue.

BJP, which has been in favour of a separate Vidarbha, has so far miserably failed to galvanize necessary support and also bring its over two decade old electoral ally Shiv Sena on board. Shiv Sena is opposed to statehood for while Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has yet to open its cards on the issue.

Pawar’s timing is crucial when has been in the news for coalgate, multi-crore irrigation scam and farmers' suicide. More recently, BJP’s former president Nitin Gadkari, who hails from Nagpur, shot into limelight for alleged irregularities relating to Purti Group of Industries founded by him.

Besides, a section of including party general secretary and former minister have been quite consistent in opposing development of power projects with total generation capacity of 68,000 MW in the coal rich region and not in the rest of Maharashtra.

Muttemwar told Business Standard, “We have faith and confidence in the leadership. We are quite hopeful that the party will take a proper decision in the larger interest of

However, state party spokeman Ratnakar Mahajan said Pawar’s statement has been quite consistent with his stand since his days in the party. “So there is no need to further read into Pawar’s statement,” he noted.

state spokesman Nawab Malik said his party has been in favour of smaller states.

BJP legislator from Nagpur reiterated that his party has 100% commitment for statehood for Vidrbha. “Ironically, and have been opportunistics on the issue. Let Pawar extends tacit support for state alike Telangana, I will be the first to garland him. Our party will support him.”

Sena’s group leader in the state assembly Subhash Desai however, declared that his party favours united Maharashtra and would continue to strongly oppose statehood for

First Published: Sun, February 03 2013. 15:15 IST