Padyatra for separate Bundelkhand kicks off from Chitrakoot
The Bundelkhand Mukti Morcha (BMM), led by film actor
Raja Bundela, today started its 17-day “padyatra” from Chitrakoot
in Uttar Pradesh to Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh to mobilise popular support for
the creation of a separate state of Bundelkhand, comprising seven districts of
UP and six of MP.
Raja Bundela is leading the BMM volunteers on the 300-kilometre-long march that
will conclude at Matangeshwar temple at Khajuraho on New Year’s Day after
passing through several towns of the two states which fall in the Bundelkhand
The BMM had announced its decision to take out the padyatra in August, long
before the Centre agreed to start the process for giving statehood to Telangana,
leading to a rash of similar demands from other regions.
Chief Minister Mayawati has already written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,
demanding creation of new states in eastern UP, western UP and Bundelkhand.
“The padyatra is the first of its kind in Bundelkhand. We have charted a route
to reach the remote areas of the region to sensitise the people about the
significance of our mission,” said Raja Bundela.
Over 20,000 people turned out to watch as the padyatra was flagged off from the
Kamtanath temple of Chitrakoot. “The Mahant of the temple, besides the Imam of
Jama Masjid of Karvi, and Anne Mary, nun of the local church, blessed our
mission,” said Raja Bundela, who runs a company producing software for TV
Chitrakoot city is divided between UP and MP, with two municipal bodies with
similar names. The UP part of Chitrakoot falls in Karvi sub-division of
Chitrakoot district, and is also called Karvi.
On the first day, the padyatra covered about 23 km and the volunteers will camp
at Bharatkoop. The arrangements for the food and lodging were made by the local
people. “This is a people’s movement and we want BMM to remain a people’s
movement with no direct involvement of any political party or leader as their
interest is confined to electoral politics,” said Raja Bundela.
He said former MP chief minister Uma Bharti, Congress MP from Ferozabad Raj
Babbar and Samajwadi Party leader Hargovind Kushwaha and several others would
join the padyatra at various stages. The Congress leaders of Bundelkhand are
also extending logistical support to the padyatra, he said.
“At each night halt, the BMM will hold a ‘Janpanchayat’ to tell the people about
the need for the separate state of Bundelkhnad,” said Raja Bundela.
The BMM president admitted that Mayawati’s support for the division of UP had
led to a greater awareness of the issue of statehood.
A little-known outfit, Bundelkhand Ekikrat Party (Bundelkhand United Party), has
given a call for a bandh in Mahoba district on Thursday. On Tuesday, the party
had tried to disrupt rail movement in Mahoba, but the attempt was foiled by the
police. Party workers had, however, detained Allahabad-Jhansi passenger train
for about half-an-hour.
Party president Sanjay Pandey said they had launched a signature campaign in
favour of creation of a separate state of Bundelkhand.
A police official said the party had influence on students of Atarra
post-graduate college, which is the biggest college affiliated to the
Bundelkhand University in Jhansi.