Activists of Raj Thackeray-led MNS on Tuesday allegedly disrupted a press conference called by an outfit seeking statehood for Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. MNS is strongly opposed to any division of Maharashtra.
Dozens of MNS workers, led by Corporator Sandeep Deshpande, allegedly barged into the conference, organised by Vidarbha Rajya Andolan Samiti at Press Club in South Mumbai, and asked the media persons covering the event to leave the venue. They also forced the conference organisers to wind up the press meet.
“We cannot and would not ever tolerate creation of a separate Vidarbha. We believe in Akhand (united) Maharashtra. We will fight for Akhand Maharashtra and would do whatever it takes (to keep the state united),” Deshpande said. The Samiti is among a handful of organisations which are leading a movement for decades demanding statehood for Vidarbha, a cotton-rich region in eastern Maharashtra.
The conference was being addressed by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Wamanrao Chatap who argued with MNS workers to allow activists to exercise their democratic right.
The Vidarbha movement includes political activities organised by various individuals, organizations and political parties, for creation of an independent state of Vidarbha, within the Republic of India.
Chatap, a former aide of peasants’ leader late Sharad Joshi, has been a strong advocate of the bifurcation. The MNS and Shiv Sena are strongly opposed to the demand while the BJP favours it.
The Congress has periodically changed its stand and currently opposes the demand to carve a separate state out of Maharashtra.