Mayawati’s gambit – division of Uttar Pradesh into 4 parts ..

Uttar Pradesh is one of the biggest states in India, with the state having a huge population (it can be counted as the fifth or sixth largest countries in the world in terms of population). With this size, Uttar Pradesh has always had problems in terms of development, being ritually included in the list of least developed states of India. Of course, the fact that the past political leadership of the state have not exactly covered themselves with glory in terms of development efforts, preventing the increased amount of criminal activities or other such efforts to promote an agenda in which the people of the state would develop. After all, if you include Kalyan Singh, Mulayam Singh Yadav, or Mayawati, none of these really ended up in making significant efforts to develop the state.
With such a large state, you would expect that there would be a number of people talking about how to break up the state into multiple regions (states) so that you get a smaller state with the increased possibility of more focus on development. Now, this may not be necessarily true, since the newer states such as Jharkand, Chattisgarh or Uttarakhand have not suddenly spurted ahead in terms of development, but the states have become more agile, and have shown an increased amount of development as compared to the states from which they were divided.

Mayawati in the past has spoken about breaking up the state into smaller sections (not too many times though, and not in such a way that the central Government took any such effort seriously, there was never a real discussion about this in Parliament, or even in the list of issues raised by the central Government). And then suddenly, in the last couple of weeks, Mayawati suddenly threw a bombshell, where she announced that she would support the proposal to break up Uttar Pradesh into 4 distinct regional areas. The other parties were never sure whether she would really push for this, given that there was no advance planning about this, no effort at doing a reorganization commission to decide the exact parameters of discussion on this move, and no level of discussion in the UP legislature at all. Then Mayawati got the resolution passed within the legislature, almost by force, not letting any opposition from the parties (for example, the Samajwadi Party proposed to oppose the resolution).
Now the ball is in the court of the center. The Congress cannot afford to oppose the motion very forcefully, since that would have a political cost. However, by going ahead with the motion will involve making common cause with Mayawati, and also inflame the tensions over Telangana that are already sky-high right now. Any support to breaking off states from Uttar Pradesh will also have a domino effect on other movements asking for separation of states, something that the Congress can ill-afford. Also, the move by Mayawati takes away from some of the other issues that were supposed to be in play in this election, such as the lack of development in the years in which she was in power, a lot of criminal activities ongoing in Uttar Pradesh, as well as the high level of corruption.

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