The BJP trio of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and party president Jagat Prakash Nadda decided in a crucial meeting Friday night to trifurcate Uttar Pradesh into three separate states before the Assembly elections early next year to cut to size BJP chief minister Yogi Adityanath flexing muscles once again after meeting all three on Thursday and Friday.
This will be the second split of the most popuous state 20 years after creation of the hill state Uttarakhand out of Uttar Pradesh. The idea came from Home Minister Amit Shah in the meeting to reorganise the state by forming Harit Pradesh comprising western districts, Bundelkhand with seven districts and the eatern Uttar Pradesh.
Yogi Adityanath, who flew back to Lucknow, immediately announced that he would never all division of his state. The BJP has on several occasions favoured smaller states, that helps in their management and faster development, though the small states have always resulted in an increased political corruption and sabotage of democracy as even a small defection can lead to collapse of the ruling parties.
Even before Yogi asserted that the division of the state was unacceptable to him, his government spokesman and cabinet minister Siddharth Nath Singh went on record on Friday that "news of division of state is fake and holds no ground." The division will reduce UP's strength in electing the highest 80 Lok Sabha MPs in the parliamentary elections.
The BJP sources said the party leadership is issuing a fiat to Yogi to get a resolution passed by both the Houses of UP for reorganising the state. Once adopted, the resolution will be brought before Parliament for its approval to speed up formation of three states before the polls.
Yogi sent signals of compromise to the BJP leadership by rushing to Delhi early this week and offered a Cabinet reshuffle to accommodate all regions and all key castes and accommodate the party leaders and allies as per the wish of the Prime Minister.
The party sources said his gamble, however, did not impress Modi, who fears the BJP will be ousted from power in the state after just one term because of unpopularity of Modi due to the mishandling of the Covid crisis.
A consensus among the party's top leaders is that the BJP is still popular in the state but its chances will diminish because of the negative incumbency factor of Yogi government. They say even if Yogi were to continue in saddle in the upcoming elections, the carving out of three states from the present Uttar Pradesh will send a right signal of three chief ministers and no big role of Yogi any more.
Division of Uttar Pradesh into three or four smaller states was first pushed by BSP supremo Mayawati in November 2011 during her chief ministership. The resolution in this respect was passed by both the Houses of Legislature. It is still pending in the Home Ministry and no surprise if Amit Shah digs it up for implementation to cut short the time in trifurcating the state.
-- The size of administration argument is better applied at the district level. UP’s population has increased from 13 crore in 1991 to approximately 23 crore in 2020.
-- Yet the number of districts has increased from 63 to only 75 in the same period.
-- Once smaller states are created they are likely to create smaller districts.
-- Uttarakhand, that separated from UP in 2000, has 13 districts for a little over a crore people.
-- It is understandable that people outside UP resent the heft the state gets in national politics with 80 Lok Sabha seats.
The Uttar Pradesh CM, Adityanath Yogi, must be a very busy person with so many things on his hand. Even as the Covid pandemic is yet to get over, he had to rush to Delhi and meet Union home minister minister Amit Shah, BJP national president, JP Nadda and even the PM over “political issues” and the ministry rejig is imminent not to mention the recent entry of Jitin Prasada into the party giving filip to the Brahmin causes which were reportedly not addressed properly and the name of AK Sharma doing the rounds as a prominent name in the cabinet rejig. In all these, the trifurcation rumors have surfaced again giving more headache to the chief minister.