Lucknow: In a
political sleight of hand, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati
Monday managed to get a resolution for division of Uttar Pradesh -
the country's most populous and politically consequential state -
into four smaller states passed by voice vote in the state
assembly within the space of a few minutes, taking advantage of
the uproar created by the opposition against the move.
The move elicited strong opposition from arch rival Samajwadi
Party (SP) and a cautious response from the Congress and Bharatiya
Janata Party (BJP).
Chief Minister Mayawati told a hastily convened press conference
later that she had done her bit and her government will soon send
the resolution to the centre "after which it would be their
responsibility to get it passed by the parliament." She said this
was being done as governance of the huge state had become
But the move is still a long way off from attaining reality as the
central government will have to take a view before passing it to
parliament, and both are unlikely to be in any hurry to oblige
her, given the political implications of the move and its impact
on such demands in other parts of the country, particularly the
movement for a separate state of Telangana that the government has
Mayawati said the opposition was trying to paint a false picture
that her government was in a minority and it had passed vote on
The resolution was passed amid stormy scenes in the house. As soon
as it assembled for the day at 11 a.m., the opposition raised
slogans against the Mayawati regime and demanded ouster of the
government, which led Speaker Sukhdeo Rajhbhar to adjourn the
proceedings for an hour.
As soon as the house re-assembled at 12.20 p.m., the opposition
once again resorted to slogan shouting, and taking advantage of
it, Mayawati herself tabled the resolution. She quickly read out
the brief resolution seeking division of Uttar Pradesh into four
states - Purvanchal, Paschim Pradesh, Avadh Pradesh and
Bundelkhand - and within the next two minutes, the speaker
declared it passed by a voice vote, which again remained inaudible
in the din that prevailed.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Lalji Verma used the fast-track
route to get two other key resolutions passed by the house. The
first was the vote on account for government expenditures for the
remaining 17 weeks of fisccal 2011-12. and another for adjournment
of the house sine die, which was passed with unprecedented
On Nov 15, the chief minister had first announced the move to
divide the state, saying only a division could solve the problems
and remove the inherent imbalances.
Explaining the rationale behind the move, she had said "Uttar
Pradesh is the country's most populous state with the population
shooting up to nearly 20 crore (200 million), which means that 16
percent of the country's population lives. It also has a gigantic
area of 240,000 sq km and that is what makes it unwieldy."
However, constitutional experts said the division of the state can
take place only after several other steps were taken, including
the approval by union government and later by the parliament.
They said that procedures that were still to be followed include
resolution being sent to the union government which, if it agrees,
table a fresh draft in parliament.
If the parliament adopts the resolution as a Constitutional
amendment, it will be sent back to Uttar Pradesh government for
the final passage and ratification.
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav lambasted Mayawati for
pressing a resolution in the assembly, saying she had made the
move to divert attention from charges of corruption dogging her
Yadav made it clear that his party will oppose in parliament any
demand for division of the state.
BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi blamed the Mayawati government of
trying to cover its "sins" through such announcements.
Law Minister Salman Khurshid said that decision of division of a
state had long-term implications and has to be taken "after
Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said Mayawati had not held
discussions on the vital issue. "Also, it is done when just three
months are left for election. What can be said? People of Uttar
Pradesh are not fools," he said.
Amar Singh's Rashtriya Lokmanch and the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS),
which is pushing for a separate Telangana state, welcomed Mayawati