Tuesday, February 14, 2012

[ZESTCaste] UP assembly elections 2012: Mayawati's divide & rule strategy turns out a dud



15 Feb, 2012, 05.01AM IST, Man Mohan Rai,ET Bureau
UP assembly elections 2012: Mayawati's divide & rule strategy turns out a dud
LUCKNOW: Chief Minister Mayawati's demand to split Uttar Pradesh into
four smaller states has figured just perfunctorily in her poll
campaign so far, highlighting her inability to turn it into an
election issue.

The proposal, rushed through the state assembly and sent to the Centre
just before campaigning began for the ongoing polls, now finds mention
only towards the end of her speeches. In Unnao on Sunday, for example,
the chief minister only reminded the audience that the Congress-led
central government had 'failed' to act on the resolution.

"The people in general seem indifferent to the issue of creation of
smaller states out of UP," says Professor AK Pandey, director of the
Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy at the
Banaras Hindu University.

"It largely stems from their realisation that the issue is being
raised not for the development of the region but for political
motives." Professor Sudhir Panwar of Lucknow University, who is also
the president of the Kisan Jagriti Manch, blames Mayawati for not
having projected the issue properly.

"She did not put faces to the movement who could have inspired and
rallied supporters," says Panwar, "She failed to project local
leadership from the Bahujan Samaj Party in these four regions."

As per the resolution passed by the state assembly on November 21,
2011, the state should be divided into Purvanchal (eastern UP),
Paschim Pradesh (western UP), Avadh Pradesh (central UP) and
Bundelkhand, the drought-stricken region which shares its borders with
Madhya Pradesh.

The resolution was passed without discussion with- in minutes amid a
walk- out by the opposition parties. The government then forwarded the
resolution to the Centre asking it to fast-track the demand. The
Samajwadi Party, Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party all termed
the proposal as an attempt by the ruling party to divert attention
from its misrule ahead of the state polls.

While the Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal had been an old proponent
of a separate state for western UP, the party piped down on the issue
ever since it joined hands with Congress in the state. Though
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has been an opponent of UP's
division, he has not been raising the issue, probably so that his
friend-turned-rival Amar Singh does not get an opportunity to score
easy points.

Singh's newlyformed Rashtriya Lok Manch party has based its campaign
largely on the creation of Purvanchal state. The Bundelkhand Congress,
led by TV actorturned-activist Raja Bundela is the only leader
seriously highlighting the issue in these polls. Mayawati's move put
Congress in the spot since it had been struggling to deal with the
demand of a separate Telangana.

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi has been fighting shy of
addressing the issue throughout his election campaign. At a recent
press conference, he said the issue should be referred to the State
Reorganisation Commission.

Analysts point out, however, that had the state government been really
serious about the proposal it would not have sent it to the Centre
with no mention of the districts to be included in each of the four
states, the proposed capitals and the manner in which the state
resources would be shared.

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