Gorakhpur, Jan 23 (PTI) After demands for carving out Harit Pradesh, Poorvanchal, Bundelkhand and Awadh, a demand for a separate 'Buddha land' is in discussion in Uttar Pradesh of late.
The Poorvanchal Sena, a Dalit-majority organisation, is creating awareness among people for a separate Buddha land with 27 districts of Uttar Pradesh, including Shravasti, Gonda, Sant Kabir Nagar, Gorakhpur, Deoria, Maharajganj, Bahraich, Chandouli, Siddharthnagar, Faizabad, Balia, Mau and Varanasi.
The sena started a campaign on January 1 and held demonstrations in support of their demand in Gorakhpur.
On January 20, they took out processions in 19 blocks of the district, Poorvanchal sena president Dhirendra Pratap said.
"Now we are planning to stage demonstrations in the villages of Gorakhpur next month," he said.
Asked about the reason behind the demand for a separate Buddha land, Pratap said, "The population of Uttar Pradesh is 18 crore, which is more than the population of many countries, and due to its vast area and heavy population it becomes difficult to manage and govern the state."
Pratap further said people of the state face difficulties owing to its vastness and development work is hindered too.
"We want to connect the state with Gautam Buddha as a large number of international tourists come here for Lord Buddha and if the state will be developed keeping this in mind, the place will become tourist hub and the development of the state will take place fast and youth will get employment too," he said.
The demand for a separate state by the Poorvanchal Sena began 20 years ago and BSP supremo Mayawati in 2011 also advocated splitting of the state into Bundelkhand, Paschim Pradesh, Awadh Pradesh and Poorvanchal.
Though there were demands from different quarters, it was the BSP which had taken a concrete step by passing a resolution for division of UP when she was in power.
Mayawati had also used it to corner the Samajwadi Party on development, and law and order issues, maintaining that smaller states could be governed better.
Dalit icon B R Ambedkar, had recommended the division of Uttar Pradesh in his book "Bhashayi Rajya".
Both the BJP and the Congress had supported the resolution brought by Mayawati in the House. But, Mayawati lost power in 2012 and her demand lost steam.
As the BJP-led NDA had carved out Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh from UP, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, respectively, it was believed that further division of UP might find favour with it but the party has been silent on the issue.