History of Chhattisgarh

Posted on May 22, 2007. Filed under: Research |

The Movement for Prathak Chhattisgarh

The demand for a separate Chhattisgarh state was first raised in the early twenties. Similar demands kept cropping up at regular intervals; however, a well-organised movement was never launched. Several efforts were made by individuals and organisations towards highlighting the Chhattisgarh identity and expressing the sense of perceived marginalisation. There were certain protests with mass support but these were limited and sporadic (छिटपुट, इक्का-दुक्का, कही-कही). There were several all-party platforms formed and they usually resolved around petitions, public meetings, seminars, rallies and bandhs.

 

A demand for separate Chhattisgarh was raised in 1924 by the Raipur Congress unit, and later on also discussed in the Annual Session of the Indian Congress at Tripuri. A discussion also took place of forming a Regional Congress organisation for Chhattisgarh. Sporadic attempts to give a call for a separate state for Chhattisgarh continued in the years immediately following Independence. In 1955, a demand for a separate state was raised in the Nagpur assembly of the then state of Madhya Bharat.

 

When the State Reorganisation Commission was set up in 1954, the demand for a separate Chhattisgarh was put forward to it, through this was not accepted. It was reported that the State Reorganisation Commission rejected the demand for Chhattisgarh on the grounds that the prosperity of Chhattisgarh would compensate for the poverty of other regions of Madhya Pradesh.

 

The eighties were a comparatively quiet phase in the demand for Chhattisgarh. The 1990’s saw more activity for a demand for the new state, such as formation of a state wide political forum, especially the Chhattisgarh Rajya Nirman Manch. The Late Chadulal Chadrakar led this forum, several successful region-wide Bandhs and rallies were organised under the banner of the forum all of which were supported by major political parties including the Congress and the BJP. The rallies of the all party forum were attended by leaders from most political parties.

 

Creation of Chhattisgarh

The Congress Government of Madhya Pradesh took the first institutional and legislative initiative for the creation of Chhattisgarh. On the 18 of March 1994, a resolution demanding a separate Chhattisgarh was tabled and unanimously (निर्विरोध) approved by the Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha. Both the Congress and the Bhartiya Janta Party supported the resolution. The election manifestos of the Congress and the BJP for both the 1998 and the 1999 parliamentary elections as well as the Madhya Pradesh assembly election of 1998 included the demand for creation of separate Chhattisgarh. In 1998, the BJP led Union Government drafted a bill for the creation of a separate state of Chhattisgarh from sixteen districts of Madhya Pradesh. This draft bill was sent to the Madhya Pradesh assembly for approval. It was unanimously approved in 1998, although with certain modifications. The union government did not survive and fresh elections were declared. The new National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government sent the redrafted Separate Chhattisgarh Bill for the approval of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly, where it was once again unanimously approved and then it was tabled in the Lok Sabha. This bill for a separate Chhattisgarh was passed in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, paving the way for the creation of a separate state of Chhattisgarh. The President of India gave his consent to The Madhya Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2000 on the 25 of August 2000. The Government of India subsequently set the First day of November 2000 as the day on which the state of Madhya Pradesh would be bifurcated (दो शाखाओं में विभक्त) into Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

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