Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday ruled out the division of Uttar Pradesh into four parts and said it was not needed as the state had no dearth of resources.
His remarks come after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) announced in September that it will launch a campaign to fulfil people’s long-standing aspiration of division of the state.
“People say that Uttar Pradesh cannot be developed without dividing it. India is the most populous country after China. So tomorrow someone may start saying that unless the country is divided, it cannot be developed,” he said In Lucknow at the ‘Uttar Pradesh Gaurav Samman’ programme.
“Our Uttar Pradesh is a state where there is no dearth of natural resources and other essential resources. There is no need to divide it,” he said.
The union home minister, who represents the Lucknow Lok Sabha constituency, said population should not be viewed as a burden.
“Population should never be considered a burden. It is a demographic dividend. It is our workforce. There is a need to find techniques for its utilisation and to ensure its maximum contribution in the country’s development. There is no need to bother unnecessarily,” Rajnath Singh said.
In the past, the BJP-led NDA has carved Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh out of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh respectively.
Uttar Pradesh accounts for the highest number of Lok Sabha seats, sending 80 representatives to the lower house of parliament.
The demand for splitting Uttar Pradesh into Harit Pradesh (western UP), Poorvanchal (eastern UP), Bundelkhand and Awadh is raked up from time to time and it gains momentum ahead of elections. Lok Sabha elections are due to be held in April-May next year.
Dalit icon BR Ambedkar, the architect of the Constitution of India, had recommended the division of the state in his book ‘Bhashayi Rajya’.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), headed by Mayawati, was once a strong supporter of the demand.
Mayawati had first raised the issue in 2007 as the state’s chief minister and her government had even adopted a resolution in the state assembly seeking Uttar Pradesh’s division into four parts.
Both the BJP and the Congress had supported the resolution in the 403-member House.
The demand died down after Mayawati lost power in 2012.