In an indication that the movements for smaller states in different parts of India were gaining momentum, several parties involved in the struggle have come together on a single platform called the 'National Federation of Small States'.
The leaders of different parties and movements for Telangana, Bundelkhand, Vidharbha and other smaller states met in Hyderabad on Thursday and decided to develop the federation in to a strong lobby to pressurize the central government to accede to their demands.
T Devender Goud of the newly launched Nava Telangana Praja Party (NTPP), who will be elected the chairman of the federation at its next meeting in Bhopal, said that individual struggle by different parties for different small states was proving insufficient. "The meeting felt the need for a strong presence in Delhi to mount pressure on the center and Federation will fulfill this need. We will bring more such parties and movement in our fold and intensify our fight both at the political and people's level. In the prevailing political situation in the country individual fight is not enough. The Federation will play a key role in the national politics," Goud said.
Raja Bundela, president of the Bundelkhand Mukti Morcha and a film maker said that the federation has come in place of the National Front for Small States which was in existence for more than a decade and successfully fought for the states of Chattisgarh, Uttaranchal and Jharkhand. "But after achieving those goals, the respective parties left the front. Now we have decided to fight from the platform of this federation for other small states," Bundela said.
The meeting was attended by the representatives of half a dozen movement including T Devender Goud (Nava Telangana Praja Party), Raja Bundela (Bundelkhand Mukti Morcha), Bheem Singh, (Jammu and Kashmir Panthers Party), CK Sreshta,(Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh) Vijay Jawandhia, (Shetkari Sanghatana), Sanjayan Tripathi, (Purvanchal Kranti Parishad) Ramavatar Khushwaha and JP Rana (Haritha Pradesh).
Raja Bundela said that if Telangana becomes a reality then it will give a tremendous boost to the other parties and movements in Bundelkhan, Vidarbha and other areas.
He hailed the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati for committing her self to dividing Uttar Pradesh in to three more states including Bundelkhan, Purvanchal and Harith Pradesh. "But people are being fooled in the name of politics. The prime minister is saying that it can not be done with out a proper resolution from the state assembly when legally there is no need for any such resolution". He said that the people of Bundelkhan want an "Akhand Bundelkhand" spread in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Nirup Reddy, a senior Supreme Court lawyer and co-convenor of the Federation rued that since 1956, Telangana was repeatedly betrayed by the political parties. "From 1956 up to 1969 under gentleman's agreement we had a Telangana regional committee which had power of making its own budget. But it vanished. In 1952 we had Mulki rules they disappeared. After we fight we emerged weaker because of the political betrayal. If all these parties agree, the Federation can be turned in to a Federal Party at the national level in the future," Reddy said .
Prof. Bheem Singh, the president of Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party has called for the reorganization of the state in to three separate entities to find a lasting solution to the problem and satisfy the aspirations of the people.
Singh told a press conference in Hyderabad on Thursday that the marriage of Jammu and Kashmir back in 1846 was unnatural union. "Kashmir Ladakh and Jammu, three separate independent entities, are all great cultures, linguistic, social and great geographical identities. This reorganization should have been done in 1947 itself when we acceded to the union of India," Singh said.
Referring to the problem of Amarnath, Bheem Singh said that the fight was not over 100 acres of land but part of the continued separation of the people of Jammu and Ladakh by the rulers of Kashmir. "We have no grudge against the people of Kashmir but the time has come when state of Jammu and Kashmir needs to be reorganized on the basis of their cultural, linguistic, geographical and historical identities," Singh said.
Bheem Singh stressed that unlike the impression elsewhere, the problem in Jammu and Kashmir was not communal. "The Muslims of Kashmir see Amarnath pilgrims like their relatives. We never had a problem even in 1947 between Hindus and Muslims. The situation has been politicized by ISI and enemies of India who had been attempting to destabilize India by using Kashmir," he said