The organisation was founded on February 6, 1956, under the leadership of Keshavrao Jedhe in Pune. Prominent activists of Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti were Acharya Atre, Prabodhankar Thackeray, Senapati Bapat and Shahir AmarShaikh among others. Acharya Atre criticised Jawaharlal Nehru, Morarji Desai (then chief minister of Bombay) and S.K. Patil (a prominent MP from Mumbai city) through his firebrand editorials in Maratha.
The Indian National Congress had pledged to linguistic states prior to Independence. However after Independence, Nehru and Patel were adamantly opposed to linguistic states. They perceived linguistic states as threat to the integrity of India. For the first time and perhaps the only time, RSS and its chief Guru Golwalkar supported Nehru and Patel against redrawing of the map along linguistic lines. The catalyst to creation of State Re-organization commission was fasting death of Telugu nationalist Sriramulu Potti. In 1956, the SRC (States Re-organisation Committee) under pressure from Nehru/Patel recommended creation of linguistic states of AP, Kerala, Karnataka, , but recommended a bi-lingual state for Maharashtra-Gujarat, with Mumbai as its capital. To add insult to injury (for Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti), they recommended creation of Vidharba state to unite the marathi speaking people of former Hyderabad state with Holkar's Nagpur state. This led to the creation of Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti which was previously called Samyuka Maharashtra Parishad. Its inauguration on November 1, 1956, caused a great political stir and, under the leadership of Keshavrao Jedhe, an all-party meeting was held in Pune and Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti was founded on February 6, 1956. In the second general election the Samiti defeated the stalwarts of Congress by securing 101 seats out of 133, including 12 from Mumbai. The Congress could form a government only with the support of Gujarat, Marathwada and Vidarbha. Yeshwantrao Chavan replaced Morarji Desai as the Chief Minister of the bi-lingual Bombay State.
SM Joshi, SA Dange, NG Gore and PK Atre fought relentlessly for Samyukta Maharashtra, even at the cost of sacrificing the lives of several people and finally succeeded in convincing Congress leaders that Maharashtra should form a separate state. The resignation of CD Deshmukh, the then Finance Minister of the Nehru Cabinet, had its salutary effect.
In January 1956, demonstrators were fired upon by the police at Flora Fountain in the capital city of Mumbai (Bombay). Flora Fountain was subsequently renamed Hutatma Chowk or "Martyr's Crossroads" in their memory. It is estimated that in all, 105 people were shot by security forces. Morarji Desai, who was the then chief minister of Bombay state was later removed and replaced by YB Chawan as a result of criticism related to this incident.
The Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti achieved its goal on May 1, 1960 when the State of Bombay was partitioned into the Marathi-speaking State of Maharashtra and the Gujarati-speaking State of Gujarat. However Goa (then a Portuguese colony), Belgaum, Karwar and adjoining areas, which were also part of the Maharashtra envisioned by the Samiti, were not included in Maharashtra state. Belgaum district, which has a majority Marathi population is still an active dispute and Maharashtra government has filed a petition in Supreme Court.
krantisinha nana patil and bhai uddhavrao patil are the prominent leaders who lead this movement and the rural maharashtra was actively supported the movement because of these two leaders.