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UP should be chopped into 3-4 states: Jairam Ramesh

February 24, 2014 15:18 IST

Union minister Jairam Ramesh on Monday observed that just like Telangana had been carved out of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh too should be broken into several smaller states. 

In a television interview, Ramesh claimed that a state of UP's size was ungovernable.

“I am all for the reorganisation of UP… It could be 2 or 3 or 4… that needs to be looked at. UP, as currently configured, is simply impossible to be governed effectively and sensitively.”

Excerpts from the CNN-IBN interview:

On creation of Telangana

“This process has been on as you know for 60 year, more recently it has been on for 10 years... it is a promise and a commitment that we made in 2004... it has taken 10 years... it has taken an extraordinary long time  to create the consensus and environment. Even now there are divisions within the state, divisions within our own party. But we have gone ahead because of the commitment made in 2004 and the demand goes back to 1955 in the state reorganisation commission, which had recommended the formation of a separate state of Telangana.”

On the decision of Telangana not taken by consensus

“No I don't think that’s right. We have had numerous all party meetings, numerous confrontations with all political parties… political parties have changed their stands. Congress party is the only party that has stuck to its stand. All other parties have said one thing, given something in writing and gone back on what they have said. It has been a very painful and tough process and I don’t think that elections of 2014 have anything to do with the formation of Telangana.”

On Congress being desperate

“The fact that it came in this session -- on virtually the last day of  the session -- a couple of days before the election code of conduct may well lead to that conclusion but its simply not true, because the decision of the CWC was on July 30, 2013. It took time to draft the bill; it went for 40 days to the  legislature... it came back... a lot of preparatory work had to be  done and its just co-incidental that it has come at the last day of the last session of Parliament.

On Congress likely to be wiped out in Seemandhra

“I am not so sure of that... I am not sure that is automatic that we are going to get wiped out in Seemandhra. We have taken great pains to ensure that the interest and concerns of Seemandhra are fully protected. Seemandhra has got a very good developmental package even though Telangana has been created.”

On the rules not allowing special status to Seemandhra

“First of all let me make a correction... I have been in the planning commission. I know what the rules are... it is the government of the day, which decides on the basis of criteria. In the case of Seemandhra, it is losing the entire state revenue that is going to be generated in the region of Hyderabad and will completely accrue to Telangana. Its resource base has become considerably weak and in order to compensate for that the special category status is being given for 5 years... it will go to the NDC and get ratified.”

On special status not being given to Bihar but Seemandhra

“Bihar got a special economic package when it was bifurcated. The NDA govt gave a 10,000 crore package to Bihar because 70 per cent of the revenue was coming from Jharkhand. Similarly here, the bulk of the revenue for the state was coming from Hyderabad, the entire revenue is going to Telangana and we had to compensate it and one way of compensating it was special category status for a period of 5 years not in perpetuity.”

On division of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand being far more peaceful

“That is the difference between the Telangana issue and the Jharkhand issue, the Chhattisgarh issue and the Uttarakhand issue. There was a time in 60’s that there was a move for Telangana. In the 70’s there was a movement for coastal Andhra and Rayalseema leaders for a separate state of AP, when Narasimha Rao had been replaced as the CM of the state. This has been a very politically contentious issue. The states reorganisation commission went into the issue of Telangana... there have been separatists movements... this is not the case in Jharkhand or Chhattisgarh or Uttarakhand.”

On not appointing state reorganisation committee

“Why did L K Advani not appoint a state reorganisation committee when he was home minister? We had never said that there would be a state reorganisation committee. Personally, I am still in favour of a state reorganisation committee. That is a separate issue but the fact of the matter is Telangana issue is a commitment made in 2004, reiterated in 2009 by Dr Rajsekhara Reddy on Feb 12, 2009 on the floor of the assembly. A process taken forward in consultation with Chidambaram and Rosaiah again in Dec 2009... it takes time.”

On time running out and the bill being passed by voice vote

“It is only in the Lok Sabha... In Rajya Sabha you had a debate extending for almost 4 hours.”

On constitutional amendment being required

“I categorically reject that a constitutional amendment is required... Article 3 and 4 empowers Parliament to take decisions on the reorganisation of the states. There are 4 Supreme Court judgements -- 1959, 1979, 2002 & 2006 …there are 4 SC judgements which uphold the primacy of article 3 & 4 in the context of reorganisation.”

On Uttar Pradesh

“This is my personal view and not the view of the Congress party and the government, but I believe that UP with its current architecture is ungovernable. It is a state of over 200 million people, 74 or 75 districts, 800 blocks... no political party can govern UP  effectively the way UP is configured.

So UP should be broken? Into how many states?

“I am all for the reorganisation of UP... It could be 2 or 3 or 4... that needs to be looked at, but UP, as currently configured, is simply impossible to be governed effectively and sensitively. I think we need to look at UP. This is where the heartland of India lies and in the states reorganisation commission there was a specific recommendation for carving out a separate state of Agra.”

“On UP, I certainly believe that if we are interested in the future of UP and the future of India lies in the future of UP, we need to do some hard thinking after the elections on reconsidering the current geography of UP.”

On supporting Vidarbha and Gorkhaland

“I would not support Gorkhaland. There are strategic issues involved in Gorkhaland. I would not be in support of Bodoland, but Vidarbha has been a demand in the past. In the case of Vidarbha the NCP seems to be in favour of Vidarbha, the BJP seems to be in favour, only the Shiv Sena needs to be brought on board.

On whether Rahul Gandhi would support UP restructuring

“I do not speak on behalf of Rahul Gandhi, or the Congress party on this issue, this is my personal professional view.”

“16-17 years ago I wrote a paper in EPW calling for a restructuring of UP & I still continue to hold that thought.”

On Cong having a self goal in Andhra Pradesh

“I think it was a tough decision; it was full of bitterness and acrimony... it was a courageous decision and I think once & for all this perennial debate of Telangana-no Telangana will get settled.”

On all opinion polls suggesting a double digit tally for Cong in LS election

“These are challenging times, but we have faced this in 2004; 2009 was marginally better but I have vivid memories of 2004. We had been written off by many polls, but we proved them all wrong. We have a difficult task, we have a challenge, in state after state but the epitaph of Congress is very premature. I think these opinion polls are more opinion than polls, they are not reflecting the true state on the ground.”

On Rahul Gandhi vs Modi

“He (Rahul Gandhi) is the face of our campaign, he is our leader. We are fighting the election for our party to get a mandate and we are not fighting these elections to install an individual.

Modi is saying vote for Modi... Gandhi is saying vote for Congress. The campaign of Modi is I, me, myself. The campaign is that ‘I have the magic wand, give me the mandate and I will work miracles’.

Gandhi is saying that I am the leader of the Congress party; I have a team with me. Give the Congress party the mandate.

Modi is an aggressive campaigner... no holds bar. He has made himself the issue. 2004 was India shining, 2014 is Gujarat shining….

On Rahul Gandhi

“He will bring in a completely new team even I am history. Gandhi will bring a completely new face. I am 100% convinced about it.”

On whether Rahul wants to discard the baggage of Manmohan Singh

“Rahul Gandhi is 43. He obviously has to bring a new generation into the party into the government if we get the mandate.”

On 30-40-year-olds becoming decisive figures

“Why not? Rajiv Gandhi became PM at 40. Indira Gandhi became PM at a young age. At 59, I ought to be history because there people in their 30s and 40s knocking at the door, and they ought to be given a chance in the leadership. When you have a 43-year-old leader, I don't think you should have 60 and 70 year olds advising him frankly.”