As the verbal altercation between the BJP governments in Karnataka and Maharashtra over the decades-old Karnataka-Maharashtra border issue continued on Thursday, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai announced that he would be convening an all-party meeting next week to discuss the issue comprehensively.
Mr. Bommai pointed out that Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde was quoted in the media saying that he was willing to have a discussion to solve the matter. Without committing himself to any such out of the court discussions, Mr. Bommai told presspersons here that the proposal will be among those that would be discussed at the all-party meeting.
“Mr. Shinde has told the media that they are thinking of solving the issue by mutual discussion. However, I want to say that since they have approached the Apex Court, we are ready for a legal battle since we have strong grounds,” he said.
Over the last few days, political leaders in both States, both sides from the BJP, have been involved in a war of words over the border issue. While Maharashtra announced pension for freedom fighters in Marathi-speaking regions of Karnataka among other sops, Karnataka announced higher funding to Kannada-medium schools in Kannada-speaking regions of Maharashtra, especially in Sholapur and Sangli districts.
Resolution of GPs
Mr. Bommai had cited resolutions of predominantly Kannada speaking gram panchayats in Jat taluk of Sangli district that had said in 2012 they were readu fpr merger with Karnataka over water issues. Maharshtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Phadnavis on Wednesday had reiterated Maharashtra’s claim over Marathi-speaking areas in Karwar, Nippani and Belagavi. Both governments have reiterated that “not an inch of land” would be ceded to the other.
Mr. Bommai said that the Karnataka-Maharashtra border issue, in fact, “does not exist” after the State Reorganisation Act, 1956, came into force. “Despite the act, Maharashtra has raked up the issue and approached the Supreme Court. The resolutions of gram panchayats to merge with Karnataka will all be brought to the notice of the Supreme Court when the hearing resumes,” he said.