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|October 11, 1999||
People want Chhattisgarh soon
Prashant K Jain in Bhopal
With the Bharatiya Janata Party securing a majority of the seats in the Chhattisgarh region for the second consecutive time, people of this area are looking forward to the early passage of the bill carving out a new state out of Madhya Pradesh.
In the just-concluded Lok Sabha election, the BJP increased its tally from seven to eight out of the 11 Lok Sabha seats of Chhattisgarh while the Congress had to be content with the remaining three seats.
During the campaigning, the Congress had accused the BJP of not being sincere in fulfilling its last year's promise for the creation of a separate Chhattisgarh state. However, the BJP leaders argued that its government was pulled down by the Congress before it could take up the bill.
Amidst allegations and counter-allegations, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, during his election tour of Chhattisgarh, had assured that if voted to power, his party would present the bill concerned in the first session of the 13th Lok Sabha.
A report from Raipur quoting Union Minister of State for Steel and Mines Ramesh Bais, who made a hat-trick from Raipur LS constituency with his victory this time, said his top priority would be to see the statehood formation bill introduced in the first session of the Lok Sabha.
Senior Congress leader Vidya Charan Shukla demanded that the bill should be passed at the earliest as there was no dispute on this issue.
He suggested that the proposed Chhattisgarh bill should be delinked from the 'contentious issues' of Uttarakhand and Vananchal.
Shukla, who is the convenor of the Chhattisgarh Rajya Sangharsh Morcha, said any move to club the bills for the creation of these three states would not be acceptable to the people of Chhattisgarh.
Former chief minister Motilal Vora said the Centre should provide a special financial package for the separate Chhattisgarh state. ''Now the BJP could not make any excuse for delaying the formation of the Chhattisgarh state over which there is no dispute,'' he added.
In the recently concluded Lok Sabha election, BJP candidates have won even from those tribal constituencies from where the Congress was expecting to stage a comeback, apparently indicating that Vajpayee's announcement to bring the bill during the first session of the Lok Sabha was received well by the voters of Chhattisgarh.
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