Nagpur: The member-activists of the newly-launched political outfit Vidarbha Rajya Aghadi (ViRA) today set on fire copies of 'Nagpur Pact' at the RBI square here.
In absence of its chief promoter, former Advocate General of Maharashtra, Shrihari Aney, who was in Mumbai, activists led by advocates Mukesh Samarth, Ravi Sanyal, Neeraj Khandewale, Sandesh Singalkar and Dinesh Naidu, Ahmad Kader shouted pro-Vidarbha slogans and made a bonfire of the copies of 'Nagpur Pact'.
The copies were burnt today as it was on this day, 63 years ago, the Nagpur Agreement (pact) was signed to pave the way for creation of a Marathi-speaking Maharashtra state, merging with it, the region of Vidarbha, the then Central Province and Berar (C P & Berar).
The pact, which had 11 clauses, was signed despite strong opposition from leaders like Bapuji Aney, Brijlal Biyani who spearheaded the movement for a separate Vidarbha.
ViRA leaders Samarth and Khandewale said the symbolic protest was organised to highlight how the pact was violated in letter and spirit by rulers of Maharashtra.
"One of the signatories of the pact and then chief minister Yashwantrao Chavan who had stated on the floor of the new State Legislature that 'jhukta maap' (tilted scales) approach will be adopted in favour of Vidarbha region and all care will be taken to address the developmental aspirations of its people, mostly Hindi speaking in those days.
"But what happened was exactly the opposite, the region was treated as a colony and given step-motherly treatment while its precious resources were exploited," alleged Khandewale.
Leaving the first four that delineated the composition of the state, ViRA claims all the other clauses were "flagrantly violated".
For instance, the party says, the clause which stated, "In the matter of employment in government and all enterprises under its control, it will be done in proportion to population of the region. But Vidarbha, which has 23 per cent population of the state barely got 3 per cent of such jobs".
"Similarly, clause 6 on fair and proportionate admissions in educational institutions was never followed," ViRA claimed.
"Clause 4 spoke of balanced and all-round development. But over the years, Vidarbha region was neglected creating a developmental backlog, which in monetary terms has now grown to Rs 250,000 crore. Clause 10 concerning holding the legislative session in Nagpur was done only as a formality with no tangible benefits from it to the region," claimed Samarth.