Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Maha AG resigns after call for Marathwada state sparks row

Under attack for favouring a separate Marathwada state,Maharashtra Advocate General Shreehari Aney today resigned but ruled out any apology asserting that he stood by his view. 

Aney, appointed as AG by the Fadnavis Government last year, submitted his resignation to Governor C Vidyasagar Rao after his remarks generated a huge controversy with the opposition Congress and NCP and ruling partner Shiv Sena crying foul over it besides causing distress within the state BJP. 

Aney, however, drew support from sections in the Congress from Vidarbha as he had earlier called for a referendum on carving out a separate state for the region. 

Shortly after Aney put in his papers, Fadnavis told the legislature that the government would ask the Governor to accept his resignation. 

Later, Aney told PTI, "I stand by my statement that the demand for a separate Vidarbha has to be considered. With reference to Marathwada, there is a long road ahead because a movement has to be built before it can happen." 

On the Opposition parties' demand seeking an apology from him, he said, "I am not apologising. Let them do what they think." 

"If the post of AG is the price I have to pay for the creation of Vidarbha, it is a very cheap price," he said. 

At an event in Jalna district of Marathwada on Sunday, Aney had said, "Marathwada bore more injustice than Vidarbha and should therefore be independent. Pressure has to be put at the Delhi level to form a separate state as the demand does not come under the purview of Mumbai." 

Apart from the Congress-NCP opposition, Shiv Sena had yesterday moved separate motions in the Assembly seeking Aney's dismissal. 

Taking strident stand against him over the issue, Sena had even threatened that it would boycott Cabinet meetings if Aney was not sacked. 

With the issue snowballing into a major controversy, Fadnavis had yesterday sent signals that Aney would be stepping down. 

Aney drew support from an unexpected quarter with prominent Congress leaders from Vidarbha Vilas Muttemwar and Nitin Raut endorsing his view.
Fadnavis spoke to Aney yesterday and is understood to 

have suggested to him to tender his resignation. 

Aney met the CM at his official residence 'Varsha' last evening. 

With even ally Shiv Sena joining the protests against Aney in both Houses of Legislature, Fadnavis was left with little choice. 

Sena ministers had even threatened to boycott the cabinet until Aney was sacked. 

Fadnavis, in a joint statement to both Houses of the Legislature, said, "According to Constitutional provisions, he has been appointed by the Governor. According to protocol, the Governor will ask for an opinion from the government. We will take the decision in the Cabinet and convey to the Governor that his resignation be accepted." 

Muttemwar, a former Congress MP, said in Nagpur that Aney had only echoed sentiments of people of both regions. 

"Majority of Congress workers and leaders from the region are in favour of separate Vidarbha though the state leadership was not much inclined to the creation of Vidarbha. But Congress men have made their intentions clear long back that they want a state," Muttemwar said. 

"Not only Congress, the BJP too had supported the cause and adopted a resolution for creating smaller states like Vidarbha in BJP national executive held in Bhubneshwar in 1996," he said. 

Former state minister Nitin Raut said even Dr B R Ambedkar had favoured separate Vidarbha and Marathwada. 

He said Aney's remarks and subsequent demand over his sacking in the state legislature were not at all issues for the House. 

When large number of farmers are committing suicide and water crisis and severe drought were looming large in state, he wondered how can the House discuss other issues like Aney, Vidarbha and Marathwada. 

Defending his stance, Aney said both Vidarbha and Marathwada have been neglected by previous governments and if anything, Marathwada suffers more. 

He said he had to fight hard in courts to ensure that water was released for Marathwada, and was still fighting for Vidarbha and Marathwada's irrigation rights in Aurangabad bench (of HC), and for farmer's rights in the Bombay bench. 

"Vidarbha's statehood struggle has gone on for over 40 years, while Marathwada's struggle is yet to start or may have just begun. By merely attaching itself to Vidarbha's statehood demand, Marathwada will not get statehood," he said. 

"It (Marathwada) would need to establish its demand and will have to develop its own leadership," he said. 

"Vidarbha or Marathwada cannot be created by the Chief Minister at the state level, but would have to be created by Delhi, and it is for the people of Marathwada to undertake long agitation to establish their demand," he said.

SOURCE - business-standard