Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Mayawati.REUTERS/Tanushree Punwani

In a bid to accelerate development and facilitate governance of the state, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati, has called for the division of the state into four smaller ones.

According to sources, a proposal to divide the state into Poorvanchal, Bundelkhand, Avadh Pradesh and Paschim Pradesh will be tabled during the forthcoming session of the state Assembly and ahead of the Assembly poll in early 2012.

In a press conference in Lucknow on Wednesday, Mayawati, who is also the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief, said her party favored the creation of small states to address problems of regional imbalance.

The decision on creation of new states is the Parliament's, which can do so under Article 3 of the Constitution of India. However, in a bid to kick-start the process, the UP Assembly session, scheduled to begin on Nov. 21, is expected to pass a resolution approving the division and forward the same to the centre.

The 55-year-old BSP leader added that she expected a positive response from the centre.

This isn't the first such demand that Mayawati has made. She wrote to the prime minister in 2008 and 2009 on the same issue.

Political observers believe that the move to create separate states is a political one, aimed at winning the forthcoming state elections, in addition to creating discomfort for the centre; the Indian government is currently facing statehood demands from the Telangana region in Andhra Pradesh.

Meanwhile, Ajit Singh, the Rastriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief, supported Mayawati's proposal. However, he claimed that she had hijacked the issue from the RLD, who have been asking for the same for 15 years now.