New Delhi: Union Minister Jairam Ramesh has called for Uttar Pradesh’s division into four states. He said that after the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh could be the next state to be divided. In an interview to IBN18 Network Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai, Ramesh said that the future government must look at splitting Uttar Pradesh into smaller states.
Ramesh, believed to be the key aide of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, said that Uttar Pradesh with its present size is ungovernable and that a state reorganisation committee could look into dividing the state.
He added that Rahul will make a new team. “Rahul will make a new team of young leaders. Even I’ll be history.”
Here is an excerpt from the interview:
Rajdeep Sardesai: Since the genie is out of the bottle, would you accept that now we need to look at Uttar Pradesh, largest state in the country, most populous, needs to be divided into four.
Jairam Ramesh: For almost 25 years, since I have been in this business of development administration, I have believed that Uttar Pradesh with its current architecture is ungovernable. A state of over 200 million people, 74-75 districts, 800 blocks; no political party can govern the state effectively the way it is configured.
Rajdeep Sardesai: So Uttar Pradesh should be broken? Into how many states?
Jairam Ramesh: I am all for the reorganisation of Uttar Pradesh. It could be 2 or 3 or 4, that needs to be looked at, but the state as currently configured is simply not possible to be governed effectively and sensitively. I think we need to look at the state. This is where the heartland of India lies.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Would you support Vidarbha, would you support Gorkhaland, would you support smaller states in general?
Jairam Ramesh: I would not support Gorkhaland. There are strategic issues in Gorkhaland. I will not support that. I would not support Bodoland, but Vidarbha has been a demand in the past. I am suprised in the case of Vidarbha, the NCP seems to be in favour of Vidarbha, the BJP is is favour of Vidarbha, it is only the Shiv Sena which needs to be brought on board. But on Uttar Pradesh, if we are interested in the future of the state and the future of India lies in the future of Uttar Pradesh. We need to do some hard thinking after the elections on re-configuring the current geography of the state.
Rajdeep Sardesai: The better way out would have been a state reorganisation committe which would have looked at all of these demands rather just look at Telangana, which is then being seen in the context of opportunism, not conviction?
Jairam Ramesh: If there is a new government that comes, I am hoping it will be a UPA 3 government, I think it should look at the possibility of establishing a state reorganisation commission to look at all these demands, but I don’t think you need a commission to reconfigure UP. We have a proposal, it was sent by Mayawati when she was the chief minister, recommendation has come to the Centre.
Rajdeep Sardesai: So Rahul Gandhi would support it? Bundelkhand, Harit Pradesh?
Jairam Ramesh: I do not speak on behalf of Rahul Gandhi or the Congress party on this issue. This is my personal professional view.
Rajdeep Sardesai: You are a senior Congress minister now, so your personal view should influence your party’s view?
Jairam Ramesh: No, it need not coincide with the party view. I have written about this.
Rajdeep Sardesai: But Rahul Gandhi has spoken about this. He has spoken about Bundelkhand. Why don’t you act upon it?
Jairam Ramesh: I have not discussed the reorganisation of Uttar Pradesh with Mr Rahul Gandhi. I wrote a paper in the Economic and Political weekly 16-17 years ago, calling for a restructuring of UP’s geography and I still continue to hold that view.