Saturday, Dec 13, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
The Congress, however, remained unwavering for two reasons: one, any such resolution if allowed would have adverse electoral implications elsewhere in the State, and, two, the Shiv Sena, because of its commitment to an undivided Maharashtra could cause serious problems.
However, the BJP is willing to vote in favour of a Vidarbha State regardless of its partner's stand.
The two leaders, who are in their 80s, have health problems. Mr. Salve, who flew in from New Delhi along with his personal doctors, and Mr. Sathe, demanding that the pro-Vidarbha MLAs be allowed to take other parties' support and move a resolution, began the hunger strike against medical advice.
While Mr. Salve was helped away by his family within four hours, Mr. Sathe was "removed" before sunset.
A meeting is likely to be held tomorrow among three non-Congress parties that favour Statehood for Vidarbha Prakash Ambedkar's RPI-Bahujan Mahasangh, the Vidarbha Rajya Party set up by the former MP, Banwarilal Purohit, and the Sharad Joshi-led Shetkari Sanghatana.
Mr. Sathe and Mr. Salve quit the Congress in August but returned to its fold within weeks when the party refused to fall in line, even as the pro-Vidarbha groupings split again because Mr. Purohit wanted a separate organisation without the Congress' involvement.
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